Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hello? Anybody there???

Are you lost inside your Bibles? Or given up the reading? Or is it just the blogging about it that isn't inviting to you?

Where are you all??????????????????


I wrote an entry about 2 Kings in my blog, the invisible.
But don't take it too seriously... ;)

-e-

Sunday, January 29, 2006

how is it going?

Hello everyone,


Mary Beth's last post got me thinking. I'm wondering how it's going in your life, and how God is working in you through your Bible reading?

*Have you settled into any kind of pattern with the reading yet?

*Are there special days of the week that are more difficult to do the reading than others?

*Is this reading programme giving you joy?

*How are you extending God's grace to yourself, so that the pressure to complete the reading is healthy and not competetive?


*what do you like /dislike about this programme.

answers in triplicate - I mean below in the comments - on in a post of your own :)

love and blessings,
Lorna

Saturday, January 28, 2006

GASP....caught up!

for my schedule, at least. I'm in 1 Samuel 27.

I'm enjoying this more now that there are stories and not so much of building instructions and information about uncleanness. :)

It continues to illuminate the rest of my life! in funny little ways.

2 Sam15:12

My notes suggest that this verse may have prompted David to cry out in Ps 41:9, 55:12-14

Ps 41:9 is a verse which has 'haunted me'
Even my close friend whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. Jesus himself used this verse (Jn 13:18) but I dont think I've ever known who it was who David lamented.

I think the reason it speaks to me is because of the high value I put on friendship. Maybe even too high if that's possible. and yet we are called to lay down our life for our brother (and sister) in Christ.

Ps 55 is poignant too. When someone close insults, hurts or fails to stand up for us, it can cut us to the core. sigh. I wish I knew how to handle this. I think it is inevitable and yet I don't want to give up trusting people or allowing them to come close.

I think it's that I still need more of my identity to come from who I am in Christ and not from what other people say or do. But it's like a tightrope walk at times.

Friday, January 27, 2006

reading on the ship

I did my reading on the ship this afternoon on my way back from Tallinn (Estonia) to Helsinki (Finland)

I'd been discussing love and faith and REAL Christian living with Andreas (my study partner) - Rom 12, Gal 5 and 2 Cor 6 ... so it was a real shock to immerse myself in 2 Samuel. It's full of swords in bellies -

I'm most familiar with the presumption of David as he first tried to move the ark (breaking God's laws) but today I was struck by the fact that his wife Michal (daughter of Saul) had been taken from him and given to another - and wonder how that affected their relationship when he demanded her back. Was this part of her reason for ridiculing him when he danced - that she was hurt and bittered by his treating her as an alliance to strengthen his hold on the kingdom. No idea if this is nonsense but it was just a thought.

I stopped at the end of chapter 10 as I want to take the whole story of Bathsheba as a whole. And I might leave starting 1 Kings until Sunday. Let's see :)

hope you are all well. Do share your thoughts - what are you struggling with, what are your impressions. Is the reading getting easier or is it getting harder. Are you establishing a pattern with reading or not? etc etc.

I do believe the historical books are a bit easier going for me, though I find the place names and people's names confusing. Now I'm back home I have a book of Bible maps which might make it a bit easier. But it does depend where I read. That's still unsure. We're only three weeks into the programme and I've spent two of those away from home, so now need to establish a new pattern.

blessings and love

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm so behind it's not funny

Well, last week was my first week back to college of my last semester, 19 credits, and i'm exhausted already. I had way less time, and my brain was befuddled. I'm catching my breath this week, since all the bugs are worked out. And i've got some time, to peruse through all of your posts, and catch up on what is happening. I was starting to feel like a huge flake. I hate flaking out on things, but here I am, back in the saddle and in time for psalms and proverbs, two of my fav's!

what day indeed?

grin

today I start 1 Sam

I find it irritating to take only one chapter of a new book at the end of a reading, so stopped after Ruth.

haven't read yet today - class starts in 5 mins and wanted to check email as it was down yesterday (access still denied today - sigh! - do you think the world will stop revolving cos I'm out of touch for half a week? laughing

Still really enjoying the Bible reading. Judges was so interesting. I've only ever read it in snippets before. Reading the whole book in 2 days gave a better perpective.

Ruth? I think all women at least know and love the story, but there were new aspects that hit me too.

blessings

(home late on Friday . phew!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dang it...what day is it?

I'm soooo behind, I think.

Recurring Number

I keep coming across the figure 40 in the readings - the days of the flood, the years Moses led the people in the wilderness, several times as saying there were forty years of peace. Jesus spent forty days in the Wilderness. Is there a special significance about it always being forty?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Online Bible Lectures

Thought I'd pass this along, from a friend of mine, as interesting adjuncts to the reading: Online lectures on the Bible by Craig Koester of Luther Seminary.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

1 Samuel

This stuff is weird and wonderful. How about the story of the man and his concubine in Gibeah (Judges). It is almost exactly the same as the story of Lot in Sodom, who offers his daughters instead of the Angels for the townsmen to rape?

And what of Samson eating the honey from the carcass of the lion? Wouldn't the honey be rendered impure if it was touching a corpse?

It seems that this was a time of lawlessness. The Israelites are worshipping the local gods. They are creating cast images and are ignoring the Mosaic laws... It is like this back and forth wrangling with God.

I feel like that too, sometimes. Wrangling with God. Wanting to ignore Him. Wanting to do things MY way.

But unlike the Israelites, I don't ever get a sense of being 'smited'. (Smote? Smitten? LOL... I am smitten! )

Instead, I get love and patience and tenderness. Or emptyness sometimes. Which is probably worse than punishment. But it doesn't seem to be connected to anything I am or am not doing.

Love+
Rachel

Progress Check

I'm monumentally behind, although I did manage to finish off Genesis and Exodus so far this weekend. What can I say, sometimes life doesn't quite cooperate, as See-Through referenced back at the beginning. A friend of mine today suggested that I just skip through to where the others are, but then I'd never come back to this. Because of everything, though, I haven't even been following the blog .... but I'm assuming all sorts of cool stuff has been shared.

Just wondering, though ..... where is everyone? So I have some sense of a ballpark of where "the crew" is for catching up purposes. So .... progress check in the comments?

Thanks,
Steph

couldn't put Joshua down

!

Read chapters 1- 20, stopping at the cities of refuge -which are such an interesting concept.

I did find the allocation of territory etc a bit confusing - my bible does have a map and I kept going there to try and make sense. One interesting thought I had was that Judah had too much so a landlocked area inside Judah was given to Simeon. I hadn't realized either that Jerusalem was in Benjamin's territory. mmm need to study OT more- exam tomorrow on it anyway :)

blessings
PS it's a bit warmer here. only - 15C thanks for prayers.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

God's Timing

Yeah, so I'm still miserably behind. I read up to Genesis 36, yesterday. Today, I got a PM from a friend wanting to know why God asked Abraham to sacrifice his "only son, Isaac," when Abraham had had another son. For my friend, this was a serious issue!

If I hadn't just read Gen 21 yesterday, where Sarah threw a hissy and had Abraham send off Hagar and Ishmael so he wouldn't share in Isaac's inheritance, I wouldn't have been able to help my friend. :)

Catching up...

Even with a nasty cold and a new gig as a Pampered Chef Kitchen Chick, I have managed to almost catch up to the rest of you guys. I am just finishing Deuteronomy today!

I must say, I am enjoying this process quite a bit. It is really interesting. And surprising. And shocking in some cases. (I mean, God is absolutely merciless towards some of the pagan communities... urging the Israelites to slaughter every man, woman and child they encounter to protect their own faith.)

But, as Lorna says in her blog, there is a clear sense of love in the Torah, too. A clear sense that nothing will keep God from finding a way to love me. I am whiny. He is tough on the whiners of the Torah, but over and over gives them opportunities to redeem themselves. Over and over there is the promised land just over the next hill. Even as I am gripped by the violence, I am filled with a strange peacefulness.

Beloved,

This is a side of you that is perplexing and confusing. But I come away from this with a greater sense of your love and patience. A greater sense of awe and gratitude. I am grateful, too, that you have never turned your face from me. That you came for me and have never left me.

Thank you.

Torah / Pentateuch

I finished this last night!

AND then spent about an hour with Andreas talking about the books of Moses. Fabulous. He isn't doing this reading programme but also eager to read scripture here. I'm using his laptop now and he's lying on his bunk bed - reading Joshua now.

I LOVED Deuteronomy - a recounting of the whole story through Moses - mostly God's persepctive and through his own eyes too.

My favourite verse? Deut 1: 31b
and I'd never noticed that my favourite Jeremiah verse is actually found in Deut 4:29

excited ? you bet!

off to the promised land today with Joshua, but first I blog.

do pray for the homeless in this part of he world. here in Estonia today it's MINUS 28 C
be blessed

Friday, January 20, 2006

Walking the Bible

Just a heads-up, for those of you with access to American public television: I'm sitting here watching the latest installment of Walking the Bible, a series that follows Bruce Feiler on a journey through the lands talked about in Torah. It is way cool; right now Bruce is talking to Bedouins about the congealed tree sap that falls in nuggets from the tamarisk trees in the desert; the Beduoins call it...manna. They melt the manna into a sweet, tasty liquid.

Check out the PBS website for information on the program.

PBS is my favorite religious broadcasting network.

Gathered Unto his People

I love this expression, as in: "Aaron will be gathered to his people." Madeleine L'Engle uses it in Many Waters, a wonderful novel about the Noah story.

I love to be think that one day I, too, will be gathered to my people. I imagine it as joining the "great cloud of witnesses" who will be waiting for me. My grandparents (all four). My DH's parents (I never met his dad). My aunt and uncle. My college friend Bryan.

fallen a bit behind

Somehow I thought I'd done yesterday's readings and thismorning I found out that I'd done only a tiny bit ! I'm on chapter 12 and should have read until chapter 22! I'll catch up what I can but reminded myself that it's ok to fail, and that the motto of this group is "it's all good"

- I have a free day tomorrow (yes!) and hope to move onto Joshua . But it's all good :)

Hope you are all well and continuing to be blessed as you read and are touched by His Word.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I Started

I didn't get far, but I've started.

Deut 1

I had a wonderful encounter God moment last night

posted here

Be blessed

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Fear of the Lord

This blog post from Dr. Darrell Pursifel relates to what we have been reading. Some of you might find it interesting or helpful.

God as frustrated parent

Don't you know how God felt when he said this?:

18 "Tell the people: 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, "If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!" Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?" ' "

Of course, then it ended up with a plague, so they didn't get to suffer those consequences. One of the most difficult and important parenting tasks for me is to stick with what I SAID I was going to do if he doesn't X or if he keeps on doing X. It's a good thing I don't have a plague in my bag of tricks.

...And moving on to "Offerings for Unintentional Sins," I wonder how they were going to know if they committed one of the sins unintentionally. What if they never realized it?

22 " 'Now if you unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the LORD gave Moses- 23 any of the LORD's commands to you through him, from the day the LORD gave them and continuing through the generations to come- 24 and if this is done unintentionally without the community being aware of it, then the whole community is to offer a young bull for a burnt offering as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, along with its prescribed grain offering and drink offering, and a male goat for a sin offering."

a bit sick

a bit sick here
and very stressed (lots of exams) I keep reminding myself that I can come to Him and rest and that I can also throw my anxiety off to Him -(1 Peter) but it's not working yet.

About to do today's reading but managed to get onto the computer so wanted to check in and ask for prayer.

It's nearly impossible to sleep here in the seminary. I was woken at 1am 4am and 7am by women coming back into the dorm and 6am by others in the kitchen clashing frying pans. And I didn't get to bed until midnight. Lord in your mercy help me block out the noise and unsettledness around me. Amen


I took a 10 min nap at the coffee break. It helped. And i did one exam today. NT. Exegesis of Exodus has been great because of reading the Torah here. Praise God.

Hope you are all well ? And the reading is inspiring you all - and not a chore! Tomorrow I try to read in the morning again. If I'm woken up at 6am I might as well :)

Be blessed

One verse from today`s reading from the book of Numbers, I found interesting, was where it said about being purified by either being passed through fire or through water. That made me wonder if it was the very origins of baptism?

Thoughts on Exodus and Leviticus

Here's my latest swag:

Arts in Worship
God is in the Details
The Enormity of Sin
Laws of Ceremonial Cleanliness

A Dozen Days Down

A dozen days down. Hanging in there. Almost got behind this weekend, but I caught up.

Some of these passages make me crazy. Not because I believe they represent how God is, but because they represent how God was seen. Being pleased with the utter destruction of men, women (unless, virgins, they could be given to men as 'booty'), and children. People burned and swallowed up by the earth. Plagues killing thousands. Moses not getting to see the Promised Land because - because he asked for God's help when the people complained yet again?? No one except Caleb and Joshua make it through all of these hoops alive to see the land promised. I find it hard not to wonder why we think these words are so important. As a history, sure. But as a way to understand God? I'm not feeling it, not today at least.

On the other hand, there was a talking donkey today. That's got to count for something!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Whirlwind

While I am really enjoying this sprint through the Bible, I am also finding it a bit constraining. I started to get behind because I’d read a really interesting section and grab one of my favorite commentaries and read up on it, or take notes and ponder it.

Can’t be doing that with this read through.

I also get behind when spend time reading all y’all’s blogs. I think it would be great to do a more relaxed pace (if longer commitment time) in an online community like this. That way I’d have time to read what other’s have gleaned from the passage and also be able to read the commentaries and really think about a passage.

Okay, enough chit-chat. Back to the Torah.

Still reading...

...every day. Numbers will be history tomorrow (5 chapters to go). A lot of questions arise while reading, but my head refuses to turn them into form of blog entries. Like

1. Jewish people.

They are supposed to obey the law - even today, because they don't believe Jesus was the Messiah, right? So, how about all the offerings they're supposed to give - when did they stop obeying that part of the law? (And this is purely innocent wondering. Don't get me wrong, I love the Jewish people, I must just admit - to my shame - that I don't really know a lot about them.)

2. Meat.

While wondering around the desert, the people complained about never having meat to eat. Well, they did have their cattle and all the animals that were given as offerings. But no meat to eat???

3. Bileam.

The first night God told him not to go with the men. The second time he asked, God told him to go with them
Numbers 22:18-20:
But Balaam answered them, "Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the LORD my God. 19 Now stay here tonight as the others did, and I will find out what else the LORD will tell me." That night God came to Balaam and said, "Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you."
And yet, whilst on the road, God came and said he had disobeyed while leaving!
Numbers 22:32
The angel of the LORD asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. (the Finnish translation says "against my will")
Did I miss something? Errors in translations? Because the English one is slightly less strict.

These were just a couple of examples. If I start listing them all, I'll never get the reading done *grin*

A quick update

To my amazement, I'm still here, and have even caught up with myself to the extent that I've just started Numbers. Not really sure why I'm staying with this, as thus far nothing much is happening beyond my feeling vaguely guilty if I've not read the day's chunk by bedtime (and vague guilt for those things I ought to have done is so much an essential feature of life as Kathryn that this nothing new). Some things have made me really really angry...specifically the unequal strictures of the Law with regard to women...some things have made me sad...and some, to be honest, have left me cold.
Having had some thought provoking CME on Sunday, considering "Does God Suffer?" (which I've blogged here) I've been considering whether I have tended to disregard the awesome nature of God in favour of a God whom I have made so accessible that he has become domesticated, almost cosy, a God made in my image...
No such danger for the children of Israel. All those multitudinous rules that ensure that God is kept in his proper place are at one level a huge turn-off for me...I want to feel I can fling myself into my Father's arms and cry or rage when I need to. But I need to grasp, too, what it means to stand in any sort of relationship to the Creator, who is absolute unchanging Love. On a day when my own failings and inadequacies feel particularly pressing, that should be a "woe is me" experience...for the brighter the light, the more one recognises those parts which remain in darkness. Awe and a holy fear are the most proper response, and the role of those endless restrictions is to create the framework which has that awe built in to every approach to God, the I AM.
So, perhaps more is going on through this process than is evident above the surface.
I'm happy to sit with that, and see where I end up.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Tabernacle

Well, I finished Exodus and read several chapters in Leviticus today...still trying to catch up!

But one thing that struck me today was the description of the tabernacle. Being Assemblies of God, "tabernacle" is a familiar term. That is because many of our churches used to have Tabernacle in their name somewhere...such as Good News Tabernacle or (really popular several decades ago) Lighthous Tabernacle. I don't have any idea why this is so, since I grew up in another denomination and have no "roots" in the AG, so to speak. But my husband and I once even pastored one of those churches with Tabernacle as part of the name. ANYWAY, most of those churches have changed their names to something more modern. We still tend to call the sanctuary on our campgrounds the "tabernacle" though. I think the desire behind the name was that it be a place of God's "presence." Today I found the descriptions amazing. I've read them before, but this time I was picturing this large tent. A tent! But WHAT a tent! The beauty of it must have been breathtaking, at least when it was new. Gold everywhere...brilliant reds, blues and purples (my three favorite colors!) woven into curtains, even the "curtain rods" were beautiful gold.

I do some primitive camping with my husband where we live in lodges that are pre 1840 in design. It is WORK to put up our 12' by 15' white canvas lodge. It must have been quite an organized undertaking to erect and move and re-erect the tabernacle.

Our churches tend to be rather plain as churches go, unless they were purchased from a Lutheran or Episcopalian congregation that is moving elsewhere. (Grin.) I've never been one to find extremely ornate churches particularly helpful when it comes to worship of God, even though I can appreciate the beauty of churches and I love to look at church buildings of all kinds. But today as I pondered the tabernacle, the beautiful robes of Aaron and his sons, the jeweled breastplates--I thought of a beautiful cathedral--and I remembered my awe when I visited the Basillica of St. Joseph (I hope I have the name right) in Milwaukee.

I would LOVE to have seen the tabernacle and the vestments etc. when they were new. By King David's time, it must have been looking pretty sad.

Purity Laws

One of the things that really struck me as I read through Leviticus this time was just how many of the purity laws Jesus breaks. Dozens of them. From the Hemorhaging woman touching him to the Demoniac in the tombs. He sat down with the unclean and ATE with them. Every time he touched a leper or a dead person he was rendering himself unclean. He is never shown (as far as I can remember) going to the temple to make sin offerings, or any other kinds of offerings. Jesus, for most of his ministry, was unclean based on the purity laws.

That is remarkable, really. No wonder the priests of the Temple were outraged. Jesus was directly violating, repeatedly, the law that God gave Moses.

He was teaching a different law.

So, why did God change? What happened that caused God to shift from the God of justice to the God of compassion and love? In the book of Acts, Peter is told in a vision that he must now ignore the dietary laws. He is so stunned he asks God to repeat it three times. (Peter, Peter... ) This was a MAJOR shift.

So, why God? What changed for you?

I am pondering these things in my heart.

Love+
Rachel

I started on the Read the Bible in 90 Days journey and have now got to day 11.
I struggled a lot with Leviticus and felt like giving up, but finding and reading this blog, knowing that I wasn`t alone in that, and finding help in the comments written, kept me going.
So I`d like to join you on the rest of the journey.
Although I`ve been brought up to go to church and am a member of a church which I regularly attend, I`ve never read the Bible from cover to cover and always wanted to, so this is just the incentive I needed.
I`m just an ordinary middle-aged person, with a faith that needs to grow stronger.
Rose of England.

checking in from Tallinn

the 90 days reading plan continues to really inspire me.

I struggled to find a block of time on Saturday - see stf for more details - but did most of the section in Ekenäs in bed late that night

yesterday was easier, I had a great quiet time in the mid afternoon between the church lunch and leaving Ekenäs for Tallinn

Leviticus wasn't as hard going as I thought- I think reading it in two days made it easier somehow, and Numbers is interesting. I've just read about the rivalry Miriam had for Moses - and it struck me how easy it is to be jealous when the favour of God is clearly on another. That's the time to turn it into a prayer

Lord I love what you are doing in X , but in Your mercy do not pass me by. Let me see Your glory too Lord. Let me be used by You.

I love the song
Consume me Lord with the fire of your spirit
Consume me Lord and make me more like you
break me Lord and mend the broken pieces of my heart
I want to be used Lord by you.

Be blessed
will check in in a few days time

Lorna

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ending Exodus

I had a rare afternoon alone and doubled up on my reading... so I am coming to the end of Exodus. I remember the first time I read it, I was fascinated with the descriptions of the Tent of Meeting and the vestments for Aaron and his sons. The details are delicious: Linen fibers of three colors woven together by craftsmen. Gold rings to carry the Ark and the table upon which it was placed. I thought of what acacia wood must smell like... and what the oil mixture was like, with myrrh and cinnamon and other spices. It is like a how-to manual. A schematic of God's dwelling place here on earth.

Sometimes I have found overly ornate churches a bit off-putting. Like they were built to impress someone other than God: Friends or neighbors- the next town over. But maybe we put so much energy into the work itself because there is no other way to really convey just how much God means to us. The best fibers, the most costly metals... none of it can really begin to express our gratitude and love.

I love these descriptions in Exodus... even the bulls and the goats. Even the fact that God doesn't want some crummy second rate goat. Some deformed freak of a goat. But a beautiful one. The best one. The one that is a real sacrifice to offer because you love it and are proud of it and have nurtured it from birth.

Because God, who has saved us from slavery, deserves nothing less.

An Epiphany!

I had a brief shining moment of understanding as to why it's so important to read what we've been reading. I blogged about it over at my place.

Relationships

For me, as I continue to read, the theme of relationships remains the link among the readings, e.g., the second part of the Genesis through its individual stories demonstrate the complexity, frailty, and vulnerability of relationships among humans.

The message for me is the need to recognize that most of the time in our daily lives we live out our relationship with God through/by living out relationships with others (human beings and the rest of creation). The obvious importance of this is suggested to me by the amount of "time" spent by Divine Inspiration/Wisdom/The Holy Spirit illustrating these stories for us in Scripture.

The questions I hear Scripture posing are:

How does my being in relationship with others (whether family, friends, community, coworkers) build up my relationship with God?


How does my being in relationship with others (whether family, friends, community, coworkers) interfere with/distract from my relationship with God?


How does my being in relationship with others (whether family, friends, community, coworkers) build up their relationships with God?


How does my being in relationship with others (whether family, friends, community, coworkers) interfere with/distract from their relationships with God?

Sigh

I'm struggling. Big time.

Didn't do yesterday's reading (the second part of leviticus). I was too busy updating the church website, and then suddenly it was past midnight. I thought, oh, well, I read the Saturday section in the morning and the Sunday section in the evening. But...

I'm all down. Just feel like escaping everything. Wondering what excuse to find to skip the church. I've read a few chapters of yesterday's reading, kinda scanning through them. One chapter, then quitting again. A bit later, another chapter.

I hate what I'm reading there, and I hate myself for hating it. I mean, "good girls" don't hate the Word of God - no matter what. Right?

Sigh.

-e-

Call me Kevin

Sorry to join the party late. I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee last Monday. At first, I thought I'd take a day or two off, then read all of Genesis in a sitting to get caught up. I'm not very good with this whole "taking it easy" thing. After a previous knee surgery, I was back at work (security) in two days. I checked myself out of the hospital following the removal of my appendix because I was tired of waiting for them to fill the Vicodin prescription (I never did have it filled and the pain wasn't so bad in a day or two). I don't take sick days when I should. When I do, I use them to catch up on other work.

This time, I'm doing things different. I took the whole week off from work and didn't leave the house for four days. I've not only taken pain medication, but I asked for something stronger. I've spent most of the week on the couch and it took me three viewings to finally watch The Two Towers. The most substantial reading I've done all week is the daily comics. I'll start the bible reading in the next couple days and catch up when I catch up.

This is all part of some big changes I'm making in my life. On the surface, I'm leaving seminary, converting to Catholicism, and taking steps toward joining a monastery. But, that's just the superficial stuff. It's really a question of authority. I spent the first thirty-one years of my life believing I was the ultimate authority. God was important and held some sort of rule, as did the church, but I was the bottom line and the top dog. I was the one who ultimately interpreted scripture and applied it to life. I was taught to question the pastor, scrutinize his sermons, tell him if he was wrong, and go to another church if he didn't change. After college, I was ordained and given the authority to create my own church.

OK, so maybe that's a bit hyperbolic and it's not like I was a bad person or one of those controlling, ego-maniac, big-hair guys. I think I was a good pastor and as orthodox as the next guy. But, that doesn't mean the above paragraph isn't true. It took a lot of pain and a good mentor to help me see it, but I have a real problem with submission and authority. It's not that I don't want to submit, but that I've never learned to submit.

Joining the Catholic Church and pursuing (even if only informally and temporarily) the religious life is a step toward learning. My action steps for the year include such things as learning liturgical prayer and submitting to a structured scripture reading plan. As a new Catholic, I want to familiarize myself with a "Catholic" translation (I will most likely be reading from the NAB, but might pick up an RSV-CE), and what better way than by finally reading through the whole thing!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Oi! I'm back. (Sort of)

I've been a bit quiet lately due to illness. While I may have been down for a bit, I'm not out (pardon the cliche). My heads a little behind, so here's a post from Exodus 15
The Bitter Tapestry

out of here!

no, no, no, I'm not quitting - even though I'm half way in Leviticus!

I'm away from home for two weeks. Back to seminary and exams and new courses etc. My Bible's with me and I'll try to stick with the progamme. I'm not sure how much computer access I'll have. A semi-fast from blogging will be good for me I think, but I have pre-posted a couple of things for see-through faith and will have a guest blogger one day next week.

Do please pray for me while I'm in Tallinn (back 27th) travel mercies, health and sleep, studies and also spiritual support for each other as we distant learners get together again. That's always a bonus for me, that we can pray together and find out what God is doing in those other countries and denominations but there are difficulties with language too (and culture)

If I can't get online - I'll send eija a text message to say how I'm getting on, and she can give an update -and a plea for prayer support if it's hard doing. Just checked with the plan and by the time I get back to Finland we should be starting 2 Sam. Wow!

blessings and love to you all

Friday, January 13, 2006

Confession Time

I have to confess, i'm skimming in Leviticus. It is a hard read, and I dreaded it, and I've tried to read it before. I got to the chapter on "discharge" and i'm struggling really bad at this point with all these rules, and rituals that God was having these people do, and what was the point, and why, why, why? HELP

Mid-Exodus

I love and adore the Song of Moses and Miriam! Although it is violent and bloody...I suppose that's because I love the song that, in my mind, "goes with" it. So very much of the scripture I know comes to me through music - specifically the music of The Community of Celebration and The Fisherfolk, with whom and with which I grew up.

Very interesting about the worthless magicians of the Pharoah. Every time Moses and Aaron would bring down a plague, the magicians would try to match it. Duhhhh! Wouldn't it have been more productive and more impressive for them to have counteracted each plague (as they were able? Like, to get rid of the locusts...or have them chase Moses & Aaron. Guess the point was that they had some occult power but not very much.

I don't think I ever realized that, after the 10 Commandments, God gave a tremendous lot of OTHER, very specific instructions! Presumably these were part of the Law that got stored in the Ark.

So, why don't we read those parts in church? (or in my church anyway?) The Decalogue is a big deal, but we never go over the parts that talk about what to do with your slaves or how to punish someone who digs a pit and doesn't cover it up properly and an animal falls into it, and and and...

Exceptionally puzzling!

And those descriptions of the Ark...wow. I'm so lost as to how that all turned out.

Joining the blog

Hi you guys!

I am happy to be joining you for this amazing adventure. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.

I am Rachel and I am a member of the RevGals ring. I am a stay at home mother of two boys... married for almost 17 years and was baptised 2 1/2 years ago. I was raised unchurched, so didn't pick up a bible until about 4 years ago or so. I have read the New Testament and most of the Pentateuch... the psalms and other wisdom books... but have never read any of the histories or much of the prophets, so there is a huge amount of the bible that will be new to me!

I started reading the Zondervan Bible in 90 Days version yesterday. Although I am partial to the NRSV, I am finding the NIV translation VERY readable, which is nice! I am currently on day three of the reading.

Happy to be part of this process.

Love+
Rachel

awash with blood

today for the first time I realised how bloody the job of the priests was. All that slaughter, and pouring out of blood - and so many rules. And there would have been such a smell from the hot freshly spilled blood, and the burning of the fat!

Laughing with a friend about it today, I remarked that I was glad that Jesus came not to abolish the Law but to fulfil it - and that the temple was no longer required because He was the ultimate blood sacrifice and now His spirit lives in us.

I wonder too what animal rights activists would have made of all this :) -

(PS I'm only on chapter 7 - half way through today's but happy to be that far. Leviticus was one book I was really dreading - but the fact that we read it in 2 days (more or less) is encouraging!)

be blessed!

Finished to end of chapter 14. This wasn't as bad as I expected. I hated the blood and the sacrifice, but somehow understood the need to keep the camp clean of infection etc. Hated that the women were considered unclean during their period, but somehow could identify anyway (blush) and fumed that a mother was unclean for twice as long when she had given birth to a daughter! (Lev 12:1-5)

ugh

I just finished reading Exodus. I agree, as some of you have mentioned, that my eyes also tend to glaze over a bit with descriptions of things like the tabernacle. Not once, but twice described - (once instructing, once building) double treat. Ah well. I chug on.

Bread of the Presence. When it came up in the descriptions of the tabernacle - is this the first place it is mentioned? Does someone have a good, detailed explanation of it? I was trying to read more about it, but found info online confusing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Abraham, Sarah and my reversion journey

Through happy coincidence, our reading in Genesis just happens to be something I was intending to touch on in my continuing reversion story at my own blog. I don't think I would have had as much to say about it if I had not just read about Abraham and Sarah as it all dovetails nicely with where I am in my tale, and also I think with some of the things we have been grappling with as 21st century readers of the text. Instead of repeating myself here, I'll direct you to my journal entry.

I'm looking forward to Exodus!

answering recent questions

*How is the reading working out?
*Are there books you are dreading reading?
*Which are you especially looking forward to reading?
These are the most recent questions I've found that i need to answer, and I've lost track of where I need to be.

I'm okay on Genesis and Exodus, but Leviticus KILLS me. I have never made it through, I don't get it, and I NEED HELP with this one. I've been focusing on Genesis and Exodus because they can hold my focus more.

I'm looking forward to getting on through to psalms and proverbs. I struggle mightily with this Old Testament, and I am so intimidated by it.

I'm way behind in the reading, but I've been sort of waiting to see what people had to say about Leviticus before I dive in, hoping that by what others said, it would shed some light on it, and help me read it differently.

Back up a little

I was really pondering something last night that troubles me about the beginning of our world. This is back a bit, but I feel it is relevant to the history of our lives. When God first created this world, and everything was perfect, everything was NOT perfect. Or man would not have fallen. What I have found, is that even before the original sin, these things existed in order that the original sin could have happened:
coveting
greed
Lust for power and knowledge
Prone to temptation by material things
selfishness
Doubting God
Putting self before God
Lusting after material things (tree of life)

Am I way off base here? Or was Gods "perfect creation" not so perfect at all?
my mind explores the deepest of caves, and the most complicated of area's in the bible. I struggle with the desire to have the answers to questions I may never have. I struggle with doubt on a regular basis. But at the base of it all, is a desire to know what it is that pleases God. And a desire to do that.

Reformation Meets Reality

I seem to be the odd woman out over on the Bible-blog. Rousing a little rabble. Talking about things no one wants to talk about. Reading Genesis with a critical eye.

This is one of those situations in which I think the Reformation ideal of putting a Bible into everyone's hands runs smack up against the reality that, without giving people an informed context in which to read and understand it, you wind up not only with confused people but with people who can be persuaded to use the Bible to justify sexism, homophobia, bad science and a lot of other stuff. It's the theological equivalent of handing your five-year-old a loaded revolver for show-and-tell class.

Sigh. I'll probably have to turn in my Lutheran union card now.

Can of Worms

This post started out as a response to a comment Lorna made to SingingOwl's post, but it got so long I decided to make it a post of its own.

****The question is - I guess - is the OT portraying it as it exactly was, or is
there a male bias in the writing. It depends on how you view the Bible I
guess.
****


Yes. I'm grappling with the idea that the bible maybe doesn't give the whole picture (well, it obviously doesn't give the whole picture.)
I'm also flirting with the idea that the bible isn't infallible in all parts, and that's heresy in these here parts.

Oh, I have lots of thoughts and questions and this is a can of worms, so I'll just share one example from our recent readings.

"Then the Lord said "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their
sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as
the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." Genesis 18:20-21


I believe without a doubt that God is omniscient, so why would he need to "go down and see if what they have done is as bad" as He had heard? So, is this scripture, indeed God-breathed? Or is this written from a human perspective based on how humans saw God at the time?
And if the Bible is written by humans and not by God, well that rocks my world. I'm not sure I wanna go there.

Maybe this is why I always stop reading when I dive into the Old Testament. It raises questions that lead to doubting for me. In fact, I prayed before I began reading for God to protect me from the doubts that I knew this reading would surely raise.

I'm still plowing through. I do trust God. I'm just not so sure anymore that every word of the Old Testament is God breathed, but then didn't Jesus say that every jot and tittle would be fulfilled, which of course, implies that God's hand was indeed at work in the writing of the scriptures.

So, you see. I'm a confused woman, and reading the bible straight through hasn't cleared up any confusion for me. It's created more.

Huffing and Puffing

Whew...I'm trying to catch up. Don't know if I ever will! I read up to Genesis 25 today. Man, I hate getting a late start. So while the rest of you are reading Exodus I am pondering the plight of women in Genesis. Perhaps some of you have read "The Red Tent"? I'm not recommending it, and I'm not dissing it either. But it did make me think of the lives of women in new ways. As I read Genesis I find myself wondering how and why the lives of women became so confined, so "ruled" and so perscribed for them...so QUICKLY! How did this happen? How did they allow it, and why? I know what Genesis three says about consequences of "the fall" and how the man will rule over the woman and the woman's desire (turning toward) will be to her husband. I do not believe this was God's plan....but that is another discussion perhaps. Anyway, I am astounded that women became so powerless over their own lives, and the patriarchy became the order of the day. I find the story of Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah and others to be distressing. It didn't used to be. Something has changed in me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Women in Genesis again

I somehow want to start out by saying, "sorry" that what keeps grabbing me in this reading is how badly and inconsistently women are treated.

But I don't think it's something to apologize for. Maybe this is what God is trying to show me (for some reason) in this reading.

I've always loved the story of Joseph and his brothers. Of course I guess I didn't know the whole thing! But especially that Israel got to see his son alive before he died.

I especially enjoyed Gen 49: Jacob Blesses His Sons. What lovely poetry. Again, I don't have the background for all this but could enjoy reading about it. I have a lot of things already that I need to get back to.

Love this:
Gen. 50:18: His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Off to Exodus.

Finally got here!

I've been reading along (did day 4 today) but just never got around to posting until today.

I want to encourage members of my cognregation to do this. A formal class won't work for this crowd, but I'm going to put instructions in the next newsletter.

I'm creeping along

In answer to one of the questions: Is it hard to read the whole 12 pages at a time. at least i think that was the question. It is extremely difficult for me to read large chunks at one time. I get very drowsy, and loose focus. I've always been this way. So this is going to be something I have to break up into little chunks.

The first couple of things I'd like to address are misconceptions that I had of the bible from the time I was a little girl. I never understood, that God created our human bodies with the intention of them lasting forever. And after the fall of man, our bodies were caused to break down over time. But back then, it tool a lot longer, and I'm thinking it is from this "mist" which covered the earth. Some say the mist existed until the time of Noah's flood, because after that people didn't get as old. Thoughts?

Also, I have often struggled with the notion of people owning snakes as pets. I realize this is a popular thing to do, but honestly, It says in Genesis, that the snake is a cursed animal, and it was originally intended to be pitted against man for the rest of it's days. Why is it a good idea to have one as a pet? They have no loyalties, they WILL bite people or kill them if they take a notion to. Is it just something that is a fad? Does God intend for us to have as pets the very animal that doomed Us?

me again

The second day of Exodus has nearly killed me.
And I've still chapters 25-27 to go. Luckily my Bible has some pictures to help me here. I find it really hard to visualise buildings at the best of times. Good that God doesn't give me a blue print - I can barely assemble duplo doll's house!

I loved the song of Miriam and Moses but the rest of today's was hard going.

The decalogue (Ten Commandments) were familiar of course but good to read them in context. I found myself picturing the mountain on fire- like Mt St Helene's erupting - but the whole thing :)

I found myself getting interested in the crime and punishment section. Understood better the law of an 'eye for an eye' - (limited the punative damages)

and then the three main feasts
Passover Feast of unleavened bread
Pentecost Feast of Harvest
and
the autumn Harvest thanksgiving Feast of ingathering

I was also really struck by the first "This is the blood of the covenant" and how the priests and elders ate in the presence of God! It must have been awesome! (and scary too)

Still to read - the last three chapters.
That will be the third session today.

It is my imagination or are these "12 pages" longer - or is it that they just contain more information and details.

I feel overloaded :(

I'm on it!!

Well, today is the day i'm going to get caught up with all of you, I've printed off the plan, and the first and second set of questions, and now, I'm assuming what we do is insert some of our own questions/comments after doing the reading?

i'll browse through other responses to make sure i'm on the right track

Good day to everyone!!

Culture and God

I shared the concern many of you mentioned about the treatment of women with my wife and Becky (part of our church planting team lives with us while they look for work and a house of their own). They expressed no great consternation. Both of them replied similarly: “I’ve always seen that as the culture of the day.” Jenn went further to point out that it wasn’t till Exodus that God started laying down societal laws, several of which are intended to protect women.

My thoughts (for what it’s worth): God meets us where we’re at. He deals with us on our level and slowly, oh so patiently draws us closer to Him. Had He spoken to Sarai, and told her to leave her family, take Abram with her etc., given the culture it is entirely probable that no one would have listened to her (at best). I’m not going to excuse Abram’s actions, or those of his son, repeating the mistakes of the father.

With the patriarchs, we see God creating a people group. There are few commands. God deals with them slowly. I think of it like the initial moves of a master chess player. God is setting things in motion, but it’s hard to see what His strategy is. In Exodus, we will see Him begin to form a Nation. Now He will create laws of holiness. Now we learn the enormity of sin and that everything (our interaction with man, the earth and God) is intertwined.

Yea, the Patriarch weren’t what we’d consider model fathers and husbands. As several have pointed out, God still used them. That has more to say, I think, about God’s grace and redemptive work than about any persons “goodness.”

Lots of Thoughts

I meant to post last night before going to bed but got sidetracked by my five-year-old. She needed someone to help her play Nintendo. I was only too happy to oblige.

Rather than fill this blog with my random thoughts as I read, I decided to take a page from some of y’all and link to posts on my own blog. I’ll try and reserve space here for some particularly juicy highlights.

God's Glory is Our Privilege – the why of a lot of stuff
Water Into Blood – where’d they get it?
That Stinks! – smelly stuff in the Bible
Magicians: The Rest of the Story – a “where are they now?” tale.
The God of Irony? – weaving a divine tapestry
A Parallel Universe – well, well, well…
Moses' Objections to Leadership – not so whiney after all?
Plagued – purpose and plans for a people’s plight

stuck!

I only managed half of one chapter this morning.

But it's all good. Read more here

Blessings!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Whose Side Are You On?"

Parts of Genesis make me angry. I'm angered by the vulnerability of women, of children, of slaves at the hands of the patriarchs -- old men who literally hold not only the fortunes, but the very life and death of the "least of these" in their hands. Abraham passing his wife off as his sister not once but twice to save his own skin -- Sarah presumably having to submit sexually to her temporary "master." (And the patriarch's son, according to the text, repeating this strategy in the next generation.) Hagar the concubine being "given" to Abraham, then being thrown out of the community with her son -- who is also Abraham's son -- and left to her fate in the desert. The interpersonal frictions and injustices created by the unjustness of the society, like the enmity that the patriarchal family structure creates between Sarah and Hagar -- the ways in which those oppressed by dysfunctional social systems must become complict in those very systems in order to survive -- disturb me.

But I am also impressed by the resiliancy of "the least of these" -- how they do what they have to do; their toughness and canniness, their subverting the system in which they live.

And through all these stories runs the same subtext: that God is on the side of the underdog. In a society where a woman's honor is invested entirely in her ability to produce male children, God's saving power rescues the barren. In a society where slaves and inconvenient children are expendable, God's saving power rescues a discarded slave and her child by her master. In a society where the eldest son in a family is the Golden Boy, God is on the side of the disinherited younger son. And, in the bigger picture, God is on the side of a rag-tag, rough-around-the-edges band of nomads surrounded by alien and often hostile cultures.

There's an old song that asks "Whose Side Are You On?" In Genesis, when we ask this question of God, the answer is "On the side of 'the least of these.'" And that is good news, in the midst of what reads like a lot of bad news about human nature and human behavior.

Phooey!

Well all, I said I'd do this and then promptly had to leave town, and not in a situation to do lengthy Bible reading. Wah! But I'm starting tonight, and I'll read as long as I can stay awake. Haven't slept much for two nights...but I'm hainging in. Praying for you, Steph, and others here too. I'll post, I hope, eventually when I've sort of caught up. Do't know when that will be. Pray for fast eyeballs!

dread v expectation

thought I'd repost these

*How is the reading working out?
*Are there books you are dreading reading?
*Which are you especially looking forward to reading?


Please pray for Sr.Steph
She posted about being depressed and really struggling right now.

Many of us have been where she is (yours truly included) and know what a difference having a loving circle of prayerful friends can make.

Lord in Your mercy Let SrSteph see and be warmed by Your light. Amen

Checking In

One book of the bible down, so I thought I'd check in. I'm tending to read my passages at night, before bed, though if I were smarter I'd do it earlier in the day...

I usually take about 30-45 minutes to read the selection. The problem for me, as some of you have expressed, is getting caught up in the details. I take notes as I read, and get irked over this and that: unnamed women. God's presence=a fair degree worldy success (at least so far). Strange reactions to events - annoyed and jealous brothers kill Joseph? Jacob doesn't get that his favoritism will land his son in trouble, as it landed him in trouble? But I will admit that the Joseph story is one of the best of Genesis - no wonder it was made into an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical - what a scandalous soap-opera style saga...

Anyway, glad to be reading, and hope my enthusiasm will last me through less familiar and less enjoyable books (read: Numbers, Leviticus, 1&2 Chronicles...)

Starting Late


Hi, I'm Susie from over here, and i'm getting a late start. I'll briefly introduce myself, and come back later after I've reviewed the reading, and am prepared to answer the questions.

I was raised in a non-instrumental Church of Christ, and later wandered away into the world. Because of the legalism, and fundamental teachings of that church, I never really understood the grace of Jesus Christ. After my divorce in 2000, I came to know Christ on a personal level through attending a "seeker sensitive" church. Currently, I am not attending a church although I am looking, and hoping to become involved in a bible study. For now, I am going to do this. I suffer horribly from depression, and because of the procrastination that goes along with this disease, I don't read my bible very faithfully. I am hoping that this will spurn me on to be more faithful, and dig deeper.

I begin my last semester for my Bachelors in Social Work on January 17, a week from today. I will be carrying 19 credits to finish up in the 4 year time frame, so I will be ready to die when it's over!!

It's nice to meet all of you, and thanks for inviting me!

Thank you!

Thanks to Sister Steph for setting me up on the blog. I'm not even quite sure how I came across this project, but it may have been through Ukok since several people on my blogroll have Ukok on their blogroll and one of them may have mentioned it.

I am a cradle Catholic who spent 20 years outside the Church and about 10 years of that was spent in prostitution. I reverted back to Catholicism a little over two years ago and I am now 40 years old. While I have read most of the New Testament a number of times and have made occasional forays into the Old Testament, I've read little of the OT and I've really wanted to read the entire text of the Bible for awhile now. I think it will be great being able to read it as a group so we can encourage each other to keep going. I'm also interested in what everyone is thinking of what they are reading and we have such an eclectic group here that I think that is going to be fascinating.

My blog is Confessions of a Wayward Catholic. It's where I blog about my reversion journey and my on-going relationship with God and whatever else comes to mind that I feel like sharing.


1.Did you manage to read the "12 pages"?

Yes, I did. Funnily enough, I was had just finished reading the first "12 pages" right before finding out about this blog. I had bought a Daily Bible for a 1 year reading plan and while reading I realized that I was not going to be able to limit myself to such small segments every day, so this works out well. I can read the whole thing in 90 days just to get the story and then after that I can use the Daily Bible for more reflective reading on shorter passages.

2.How did you achieve it? Was it in one sitting or more?

Just opened the book and read it. I've completed two days reading so far and each time I did it in one sitting.

Where do you read?Do you make any notes? Underline?

Usually in bed at night, either before I turn on the tv or after I turn it off. I use a yellow highlighter instead of underlining and I occasionally take notes if something strikes me.

How did you deal with distractions or interruptions?

It takes a lot to distract me from reading so I didn't really have to deal with that. I also didn't start reading until everyone else had already gone to bed, so that usually helps.


3. How long does it take to read the passages?

Hmmm. Maybe a half hour? I read fairly quickly and I skim things like the geneologies and long descriptions of Ark building that will be coming up soon.

4. What are your thoughts so far
Now that I've switched translations I'm finding the reading going much faster than other times I've attempted to read the Bible straight through. Previously I've attempted both the NAB and the Jerusaleum Bible and found them both a slog. I've now switched to the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition and I'm finding the reading goes much more smoothly. I think this translation flows really well.

As for the text itself, I find myself coming up with amusing quips that God is thinking whenever one of these whiners mouths off to him. I do like that everyone is constantly challenging God. It reminds me that we are in dialogue with Him and that the conversation goes in both directions. It does not bother me so much that the behaviour of some of these people leaves a lot to be desired because I think what we are seeing is "baby steps". It strikes me that God is teaching them how to have a relationship with him and that he realizes he can only give them so much information at once. Also, it has occurred to me that maybe he sets up Abraham as the father of nations not because Abraham himself is so worthy of the honor, but rather that various descendants of his will be.

Well, here I am!

The name's Veronica, and I blog over at Mere Complexities. I came across this nifty project from Sister Steph's blog, and it seemed like a fantastic idea. I am in my fourth year of an honours specialization in philosophy, with a second major in biology.

For most of my life, I have been anything but a Christian (actually, I grew up a Pagan), but I converted to Catholicism in my second year of university. I don't really have an especially strong background with Sacred Scripture, although I did read the Bible in the year before becoming Catholic.

At the moment, I am trying to discern whether I am called to be a nun someday. Between my volunteer work and my degree, however, I have a tendency to neglect my spiritual life more than I should. I'm excited about this opportunity; I think the accountability will help keep me on track.

So, the questions:

1. Did you manage to read the "12 pages"?

Yes, and then some.

2. How did you achieve it? Was it in one sitting or more?

Just one sitting, so far. Things are a little slow right now, so I have a great deal of free time. However, I imagine I will need better time management as the semester progresses.

3. Where do you read? Do you make any notes? Underline?

I read curled up in my big and comfy chair by the window. I very rarely take notes, although I do sometimes highlight especially striking passages.

4. How did you deal with distractions or interruptions?

I like to do my reading first thing in the morning, and I typically get up very early. Things are very quiet then, and there aren't many distractions. I'm very good at tuning the rest of the world out in general, though.

5. How long does it take to read the passages?

About an hour.

6. What are your thoughts so far?

I think this is going to be good.

The creation account in Genesis has always been particularly striking to me. When I took my first year philosophy course, my professor outlined the parallels between the popular scientific account of how the world came to be, and the Biblical account of things. Of course, I wouldn't dream of using the Bible as a science text book, but I am enraptured by the reminder that there is more to life than meets the eye.

Your thoughts on Genesis?

Now that I'm about to march into Exodus, I thought it good to look back at the start, Genesis in four days!

-I've woken up eager to read! yet still a couple of mornings it's been a struggle to get started

-I've read in the mornings, and mostly at my computer, though the idea of curling up on the sofa to do this, or lying on bed (in the daytime) is quite appealling.

-Like others I've struggled with geneologies. I've also noticed that there's not that much description, which makes it easier to read, but trickier to 'see' sometimes. I've wondered how the Patriarchs were such rottters and yet our faith is founded on them. I think that gives me hope in a strange way. If God could use them, He can surely use little ol' me! I've also reacted to the way things were in those days - God speaking to Abraham not Sarah, but allowing her to overhear His conversation. Yet overall a sense that God is in control - that He means it for good. I'm glad Genesis ends on that note :)

It seems that all "12 pages" (is there a better way to say this - since for few of us it's actually 12!) in one sitting is a bit much for me! and I wonder why that is when I can read most books for hours.

I've been thinking ahead too. (grin)
eija and I were chatting (on msn) yesterday and I said I'm dreading Leviticus , but the thought that it will last only three days is a relief. And I'm apprehensive about the Psalms too. I wondered why that is - but it's probably that reading one or two psalms in a day is a delight, but having tried to read Ps 119 in the past in one sitting and having floundered, my experience says this might be a tough section for me. eija made me laugh though - she said she was dreading Revelation. It's right at the end and so that really encouraged me that we will - by the grace of God - and encouraged by each other - make it that far!

Then I wondered about the books I'm looking forward to. Exodus is one, and I get to start that right now! I'm also looking forward to the history books because I think reading huge chunks of them at once will make it easier to get an overview. The minor prophets will be interesting too I think. I haven't thought ahead to the NT yet.

What about you?

*How is the reading working out?
*Are there books you are dreading reading?
*Which are you looking forward to with especial expectation?

Buckets of Blessings as you read!

edited to add

I wrote about Exodus today here

God Get's Torqued!

I was reading Exodus 4. Moses is whining and sniveling about going before Pharaoh and leading the People out of Egypt. God is super patient. It’s not until Moses flat out says, “Pick someone else,” that scripture says, “Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses…”(v.14 – NIV).

Just found that interesting.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Belated Greetings!

"Suzanne With Milk and Book," Carl LarssonThis is not a picture of me; in fact, this looks absolutely nothing like me. (Think short, chubby, longer in the tooth and brunette.) But it is a woman reading, which is what I intend to do.

I am a part of the RevGalBlogPals webring, which is how I found out about this project. And I have just completed my first year of lay ministry training, a really exciting and rigorous course of study for laypeople with "day jobs" who want to serve their congregations and other ministries within our synod of the ELCA in a more informed way. A significant part of our studies, of course, involve Scripture, and in the past year I've read significant chunks of the Old Testament, but not the whole thing, and not in a sequential way. I also try to maintain (emphasis on "try") a daily discipline of following the Daily Office, which is also a good daily dose of Scripture, but not a comprehensive read-through. At one point I tried following Dietrich Bonhoeffer's advice of reading a chapter of Old Testament and a chapter of New Testament every day, all the way through the Bible, but I couldn't maintain that slow a pace -- I'm more a "I'll take that triple espresso to go" personality. So I am looking forward to challenging myself through this process.

My responses to the initial set of questions:

Did you manage to read the "12 pages"?
Somewhat more than that.

How did you achieve it? Was it in one sitting or more
I did it in one sitting.

Where do you read?Do you make any notes? Underline?
I read it "just hanging around" at home. I'm not a note-taker/highlighter/underliner; I'm just doing a "What does it say?" read-through right now, and as I finish books I'll go back, read the footnotes and other helps (I have a New Interpreter's Study Bible with a lot of reference materials -- usually about only half the page is text; the other half is footnotes, excursuses, etc.) and think about "What does it mean?" and "What does it mean for me right now?"

How did you deal with distractions or interruptions?
Didn't sweat them.

What are your thoughts so far?
There's a definite rhythm and pattern to the chapters. And frankly it's been really hard for me to slog through the geneologies; I know that they were important to the authors/redactors as "authenticating" parts of the narrative, but...hey, they're boring to me. And I find the general lack of acknowledgment of women irksome.

The Neverending Story

This is my third day of the challenge, and I'm finding it easier to read the daily chapters than I thought it would be. I leave my bible opened on my bed and I just take little breaks during the day to read, then I get pulled in. It reminds me of The Neverending Story. Every time Bastian opens the book and begins reading, something amazing happens and he is drawn into another world.

The exciting thing about reading the bible is I fully expect the book to come alive for me, just as The Neverending Story did for Bastian. I know that passages I have read many times will suddenly take on new meaning, and I'm looking forward to that. It hasn't happened yet during these past three days, but I've still enjoyed my reading time and having my bible opened on my bed, waiting for me, is like a standing invitation to sit at the Lord's feet. Posted by Picasa

Day 4

Today's reading was a struggle. After getting up early, putting the girls to school and daycare, working, taxing through art schools and music schools, evening routines and all, I just wanted to fall in the arms of the comfy sofa and watch television without thinking anything. But I took my Bible and read the rest of the day's portion - I had started it while waiting in the car for my daughter to finish her music school.

I haven't told my husband about my project yet. He's been at work for the first three days. My "office" is in the other end of our bedroom and so is his computer, too. And there's no door at all. So no privacy!

Also it hit me today, that I'll be actually reading the Bible every night for an hour until the beginning of April! And loads of projects are accumulating on my desk - and I'm not talking about my paid job...

Well, I won't give up. And I did enjoy about Josef's story. And for the first time I noticed the awesome blessings Jacob - Israel - gave to his sons before dying.

-e-

Day 2: Genesis 17-28

Oh dear...not too much to commend in the general behaviour today either. Lot's daughters so desperate to conceive that they sleep with their own father (and not a word of censure in the text). Abraham once again passes his wife off as his sister (why does she let him??), and God comes perilously close to punishing Abimelech for a sin he almost committed through ignorance, - while still honouring his covenant with shoddy 0ld Abraham. And what about the mindless obedience he, God ,demands of Abraham on the mountainside? For a twenty-first century woman, that is decidedly hard to swallow! And so it goes on…Abimelech deceived again, this time about Rebekah, poor old Esau, cheated out of his inheritance by his scheming brother and mother…and God, inexplicably, favouring Jacob with a vision of angels and the covenant repeated.
I suppose the thing to hang onto is that though these are not the sort of ancestors to be hugely proud of, they are the sort of people we all are, and God works with and through them.
He doesn’t demand a sanitised reality…and that’s the best of news for us, isnt it?

Reading Sacred Scripture is SO much Fun!


1.Did you manage to read the "12 pages"?


I began on the same day that Lorna did, in other words on the 6th. I did that because I hadn't originally realised that the start date would be Sunday and I knew I would be away all Saturday.

2.How did you achieve it?

I opened the Bible and I started to read. That might sound like a smart-ass answer but for me it's quite a big committment that I was making and even opening it up at Genesis knowing that I'm going to spend approximately 100 hours reading Scripture during the next 3 months -well, that's a big adventure to start and I did so with a little trepidation

It's one thing reading Scripture each day, quite another to determine to read it all in less than 90 days. Where would I find the time? What about my other obligations? then I realised I was asking the wrong questions.

The question is:

"How can I not afford to find the time to read the Word of God?"

Was it in one sitting or more?

I read the first session in pieces. I was okay for reading the subsequent sessions right through, but at first I couldn't 'get into it'. Having read Genesis many times before I wanted it to impact upon me, but at times I found myself in a bit of a daze and ended up making myself re-read the parts that I'd not read with any great resolve.

What I discovered coming back to it later that same day, was that I actually found my groove and started to really enjoy it once I determined that I was definately going to do it. I went above and beyond the necessary daily reading requirements and finished Genesis on Sunday evening because quite frankly, I found it 'unputdownable'...something that was very suprising to me and especially as I have put down bibles in practically every room in the house and rarely allowed the fact that the scarcity with which I picked them up, to bother me.

Something else that suprised me is that so far, I have awoken wanting to get my 'fix' and have equally gone to bed wanting my final 'fix' of the day.

That burning desire for Scripture is a first for me. I have always 'loved' Scripture and read it, used it to support my argument in debates and it has been of great comfort and encouragement to me in difficult times, but I never worried quite so much before, that I wouldn't have enough time to read for an hour every day.

Where do you read?

In the Lounge, in the car while waiting for my son to come out of school, in the bath, in bed, while cooking the evening meal I have been stood at the cooker with the Bible in one hand and a kitchen utensil in the other!

Do you make any notes?

Sometimes.

Underline?

Yes.

How did you deal with distractions or interruptions?

I tried to listen to Gregorian Chant on my mp3 player while reading the bible, thinking it would blank out any annoying sounds of 'life', but in fact, I was even more distracted because I found myself humming along to the chant! I need a relatively quiet environment
( and a huge mug of tea) to read Scripture attentively. Last night, the children were watching a film and I took myself off to have a bath. I took my bible with me and then instead of coming downstairs afterwards, I curled up on the bed to read some more!

I'm so grateful for this opportunity. I'm so used to dipping in and out of the bible and have read the N.T over and over, but reading the O.T, particularly the Pentateuch has been something that I have really struggled with in the past. I can honestly say that it makes such a huge difference to read it in sequence, chapter after chapter, book by book! The geneologies have been skimmed over somewhat because I didn't want to get hung up on 'who begat whom', but I'm not going to beat myself up about that.

I've just finished reading Exodus chapter 11. I'm not trying to be competitive I'm just having a lot of fun!

God Bless.




Day 1 bulletin

Sunday was Eucharist;Eucharist; OpenHouse (informal all-age tea-time worship); Evensong; Youth Group.But somewhere between the end of OpenHouse and the beginning of Evensong came the first 16 chapters of Genesis. Probably not the best day for me to have started, as I was preaching and thus so focussed on the Baptism of Christ, which the Lectionary offered us yesterday, that I had very little mental space to reflect on those action-packed chapters from the Very Beginning. It was good for me that Genesis 1 1-9 had been one of the Eucharistic readings...nothingness, and then God's Spirit and God's voice calling all things into being. That was my anchorage as I began to read. As always, parts of the narrative stuck in my throat -I'm with MaryBeth that Abram's treatment of Sarai is simply outrageous,.and it does seem hard that Cain's offering wasn't good enough,-but my overwhelming impression was of the generations coming and going, the line of names winding its way through (pre)history, some more than a little dubious characters, some with credible histories, some beyond the bounds of rational belief...but with God's Spirit somehow involved all the way.
Looking at the questions...yes, I read all the allotted verses (though it's considerably more than 12 pages in my version), achieving it with something like grim determination, in the only window of time that presented itself. I read in our sitting-room, as my daughter had commandeered the computer in my study, and I knew I wouldn't be able to settle in there awy from my desk when there was so much to put away after all the mult-sensory activities of OpenHouse (will blog about that at Good in Parts, if time permits). My son was watching a film at the other end of the room, and the dogs were very keen on snuggling on my lap to share the experience, so it was quite a test of concentration, but I did manage it. I'll hope generally to be able to read in the study, where I've a comfy sofa of my own and I can shut the world out...this certainly wasn't ideal! No notes, though, nor underlinings (I somehow never DO underline in my Bible....might journal a bit as things go on, but I want to focus on what impact the Word has on me, rather than getting drawn into academic points, which could so easily happen). I guess it took about 45 minutes (and I did go on to Chapter 18 before realising that I would be late for Evensong).
Thoughts so far? That the line between myth and truth is wonderfully blurry. That we need anchors to make sense of reality in our own context. That so much divides us from the people of Genesis, but their emotions, confusions and fears are so like my own. That I can't possibly expect to get the reading done and blog about it regularly....if I don't stop wittering now, I'll never get today's chunk done!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Genesis 1-16

And it was morning, and it was evening: the first day.

Actually, I finished the first day's reading yesterday (working ahead never hurt anyone) .

Yes, I read the 12 pages and even onward. I had to go to a quiet place to do it...especially with the geneaologies. I'm sure that was important to someone, sometime. It took me about 30 minutes, but I'm a really fast reader.

I am reminded as I read and consider this that I have some problems with the Old Testament. The rules don't make sense to me, and God seems (forgive me) to be somewhat capricious. But that's what I'm here for, to learn more.

There is such a cultural gulf between the "then" of the Old Testament and the "now" of modern day America. Women are utterly expendable and are indeed are goods to be traded, given to mobs, etc.

Reading the 12 pages caused me to take several notes under the heading of "YUCK" - Abram giving Sarai to the Pharoah (saying she is his sister so the Pharoah will take her to sleep with, and not kill Abram). That happens again with them, in chapter 20; by that time, Sarah has to be 90 or so!

Also, I have always puzzled about God's favoring Abel's gift and scorning Cain's. Cain was a farmer, so he brought the first fruits, right? As the worker of the soil, what better could he have brought? I am definitely missing something here...

I bought the actual BIND bible and it has a lot of pages for notes, so I'm writing in there. Figure that's a good place for notes on reading this particular Bible.

I'm off to the airport for a late student pick-up. Sweet dreams, all; see you tomorrow!

Bereshit ("In the Beginning")

I have to start by saying that I cannot interact with Genesis without hearing in my heart the melody of the Weston Priory (Gregory Norbert) song, "In the Beginning."

In the beginning, all was empty and void.
God's Spirit moved above the waters.
Out of the darkness came a Word that brought new life:
This is so good let there be light!


I have read and/or heard many of the stories of this portion of Genesis many times before. They are, perhaps, the most familiar stories of the Bible, Creation, The Fall, Cain and Abel, Sarah and Abraham, Noah, The Ark, and the Flood, Babel. Each told as a freestanding story has its own unique message. As I read them through, from one to the next, I asked what -- besides the goodness of creation -- did they have to say together, what was the message woven through them. Gratefully, the Spirit began to show me the thread that weaves these sometimes seemingly unrelated stories together as part of the fabric of Holy Scripture: relationships.

Each of these stories calls us to examine our relationship with God's creation whether it is the environment in which we live, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the vegetation we consume, the persons with whom we live, the persons with whom we work, our families and community members, animals, our bodies, our own selves. The connection of "right relationships" that crosses these stories ultimately sets up the framework for our most significant relationship on this human journey, our relationship with God our Creator. Reading through these narratives in this way, I realize it's only the first 12 pages, has already been a really powerful experience as I contemplate the thread that weaves through these pages of Scripture.

I realize that my findings are not profound by comparison to the revelations others will have, but for me the good light shining through this reflective experience tills a soil that I hope will yield a very productive engagement with The Word through this collaborative Scripture Sharing journey. Underlying all the words of these first 12 pages is the recognition "This is so good, let there be light!" affirming the underlying goodness of all God's creation and the potential to do great when living in the light!

As for my experience of doing this first reading, I actually finished the 12 pages yesterday, in a single sitting in my quiet space. For me, I tend to enjoy reading with background sound but for this Scripture Journey, I am trying to quiet the space so I can best hear The Word above the sounds of silence.

Day 3 continued by eija

A new blogpost about the three first readings. You can find the whole story here.
More “non-theological insights”

Ok, here it comes. The unembellished, ugly, raw, naked truth of what I think. Lord have mercy on me here. I’m just questioning. Random thoughts from a person that knows nothing about theology.

I have now read 38 chapters of Genesis in three days. My main thoughts about the happenings - which are very familiar to me even before this reading - is that things really weren’t “fair”. Some things really make me question - even about God’s consistency and incorruptibility!

read on...

Edited to secretly add my pic in here:

Finally made it


Hey it's me, Mertonfan75....I finally got around to reading the first days worth and I am already behind...arghhhhh...but "it's all good" right?

Alrighty then...



Thanks for the list of questions, it has helped get me started...Lorna were these from you? Well, uh thanks..sheesh what did I get myself into? I won't panic...Promise.

1.Did you manage to read the "12 pages"?
Well, I was hanging out in my favorite cafe today and yeah I managed to read the 12 pages.

2.How did you achieve it?
With a large hazelnut latte (with whip cream).

Was it in one sitting or more?
Yeah pretty much.

Where do you read?
Kopi cafe, Clark Sreet, Chicago Illinois...or in my prayer space in my back room.

Do you make any notes?
Yeah, in a journal.

Underline?
Sometimes, but would rather record in a journal.

How did you deal with distractions or interruptions?
I tune things out well, learned this studying in college (loud library).

I am kinda tired of these questions...

I am especially excited about getting into the New Testament. There is much battle in the Old Testament and once there is hope (Our Prince of Peace and Lord Jesus Christ) is born, there are so many lessons to be learned. I have read the New Testament and am not a fan of the Old, so this will be a challenge for me! ;)

3. How long does it take to read the passages?
About an hour.

4. What are your thoughts so far?
Well, like I said I love the New Testament. I have a hard time with believing a lot of Genesis.

Someone said:

"I've read Genesis a few times before and some of the same questions come up for me over and over. I always get stuck worrying about whether or not the events in Genesis are literal accounts or if they are figurative, or a mixture of both. For example: if Adam and Eve were the first people and there were only the two of them, when the Lord banished Cain from the land why was Cain worried that he might be killed by whoever finds him? (Gen. 4-:14) There should have been no one else on earth yet. Did Adam, perhaps represent mankind, and Eve represent all women? Did God create lots of men and women at the same time? Did the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life represent something within man and woman themselves? The trees were in the middle of the garden. Does the garden represent our souls?"

I can totally understand these questions and would ask them as well. However, I tend to read the bible and apply it to my own life. Like what is the lesson learned there. For example Adam representing men and Eve representing women. And... the knowledge of good and evil. There is good and evil represented in every story. So like I take these stories and apply them to what is going on personally in my life and journal on them. Like for example, What within me would constitute good and evil?

I dunno...whatever...that's all I have to say, my brain is fried and I am going out.

"It's all good".

Day 3 by eija

Lorna's questions:

1.Did you manage to read the "12 pages"?
Yes, three days in a row now. It's been surprisingly easy, and I have to say, I'm almost proud of myself! *blush* My reading is more than 12 pages, because I have only a mid-sized Bible. So the more accurate number is something like 15 or 16 pages.

2.How did you achieve it? Was it in one sitting or more?
Where do you read?Do you make any notes? Underline?
How did you deal with distractions or interruptions?
One sitting more or less. Yesterday I had one interruption when daughter no 2 didn't sleep as she was supposed to. Today I had a zillion interruptions, with the dog whining, D no 2 jumpin around, crying, calling her dad (who is at work) and needing and extra bed time story. Also my mind wondered a lot. But I went on reading after every interruption.
The first reading was in an armchair in the living room, with a blanket on my feet. It was nice and cozy, but only possible when the kids are asleep and hubby's at work. Yesterday and today I read at my desk in front of the pc.
I'm prepared to make notes, if needed. And I have made some underlinings and scribbles on the marginal. But the main purpose for me is to concentrate on the reading.

3. How long does it take to read the passages?
Haven't timed. It might become an obstacle, if I knew how long it takes. Also, when reading, I won't bladder the sheets that are left, I'll just keep on reading until I hit my end-mark.

4. What are your thoughts so far?
I have to do this. Not for you, not even for God. But for me! Because I know this will have a great impact on my relationship with God.

I have a dilemma... When - if - I come up with something to blog about the readings, the "natural way" would be to make a post in the invisible, and that's the way I want to keep it, too. But what about this blog? Should I link those posts here, or copy them here? Or what? I sure don't have time to write two postings on the same subject...

Here is a post about my first reading on Friday.

Keep it up, guys!

-e-

Already behind!

Hello there ... I'm Steph, your resident Bloggermeister Meisterblogger {anyone know the reference?}, and I've been the one getting all this set up. Hence, I haven't even introduced myself yet, and you all are already discussing the readings!

So, who am I? I have been a Sister of Saint Benedict for three years now, and began my blog Narrow at the Outset this past August. I've been teaching high school religion for about four months now, and am still trying to get used to the fact that technically, theoretically, I am a nun. (Well, technically, I'm a sister, but, well, you get the idea!). I took a couple different New Testament courses as part of my religious formation for the community and actually taught New Testament to my sophomores this past semester. Old Testament, though, is a bit more sketchy for me -- I did take an Intro to Old Testament course last spring, but we ended up spending 98% of the semester on the plagues, so I'm still missing a lot of that overview. However, as a Benedictine, I've got lectio divina and Liturgy of the Hours, with the emphasis on the psalms and the office of readings, so I probably know a lot more than I give myself credit for.

My reasons for joining in? Well, it all started kind of on a whim ... Make a couple loose comments on your blog and next thing you know you're spearheading an online Bible-powerreading-discussion group. Craziness! But, I've always said that God has a sick and twisted sense of humor. Now that there's this big batch o'folks at my suggestion, I've gotta follow through and finish the project (since I'm with Kathryn on the non-finishing thing). And, since I'm teaching Church History this semester, it's his way to make sure I stay in with the Bible.

Thoughts as we begin? Just dumbfounded at how this whole thing has exploded. And feeling way outta my league. I now understand what my brother meant when he'd say "I'm just a hack" about his music. But, as the theme of this goes .... It's all good. Thank you all for joining me on this, and let's have some fun!

[picture will be added later .... when I've chased one down!]