Friday, October 12, 2007
Biblical Friday Fives
From Mother Laura:
So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:
1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).
3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?
4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?
5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and lit1urgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?
Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?
1. I remember an awful experience was trying to memorize bible passages at an early age in Sunday School. I am a dyslexic, a term that was not invented during my childhood, who cannot memorize. It created a feeling of failure in Bible. I avoided reading the Bible for years, even after I came to know Christ experientially.
2. I study with the NRSV Oxford and appreciate the footnotes. For just reading, I enjoy the Message or the CEV from American Bible Society because they often give insights the more literal translations do not give. And at times I go back to The Jerusalem Bible (the old one even if there are irregularities). It helps me recognize when there are difficulties with the Hebrew or Greek texts. I really don’t like the NIV, I feel that there is too much creedal editing in it. And when I am feeling really nostalgic I will pick up my grandfather’s KJV and slurp up the Elizabethan English as if I were reading Shakespeare—especially for the psalms.
3. My favorite passage that has stood the test of all these years is Ecclesiasticus Chapter 2. from the Greek OT. I read it first in my early 20’s and now in my 60’s it will be a reading used at my installation as pastor. It isn’t a warm fuzzy but it has been so true for my life it is incredible. My favorite book in the NT is Mark. “Just give me the facts, ma’am” Mark, the earliest, the shortest and the beginning of the gospels.
4. The epistle of straw for me is Revelation. I find that so much damage has been done to this book by those who would predict the future with it that it is hard to get the wonderful visionary aspects of it. It isn’t really the book itself that I don’t like; it is what literalization had done to the book. Some of Paul and much of Numbers make me want to scream.
5. I am for the inclusiveness of Scriptural translation. It was when I realized that diakonoi was translated handmaiden when referring to women and deacon when referring to men, I began to understand that ordination of women was possible. It was part of the history of women that had been edited out. Then my ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ began to kick in and I began to study Greek so that I could find out what the Bible really said. It opened the richness of the Scripture for me and began a love affair that is so much a part of my life now.
6. The psalms are part of my daily prayer too. I don’t quite do all of the Office everyday anymore, but the psalms are what I reach for when I am having difficulty praying. I don’t have a favorite. They are so often exactly what I need to hear at any given moment that they are like comfort food for the soul. Phrases of psalms flit through my prayer constantly. “Let my prayer come to you like incense.” “Open my lips and I will sing your praise.” “You know me. Even in the depths of the womb, you knew me.” “That I may live in your house forever.” All of these are so much a part of the fabric of my life, that I would never be able to say which is my favorite.