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My Bible Studies continue…

By January 14, 2008zen / spirituality

Bible_studyAs I mentioned last week, I’ve resolved to read the Bible.  I’m still in the midst of Genesis: quite a fantastic story.  Old Testament God wasn’t much into explaining things, which is probably why Eve was so easy beguiled into eating the apple.  If only he’d explained why the tree of knowledge was so terrible we’d probably still be happily cavorting in the nude. 

Of course, as any prolific creator knows, it’s hard to foresee the weird evolution of one’s work.  When God was starting out he foolishly expected man to abide his dictates without question (kind of like expecting Gilligan not to botch the rescue mission).  From time to time, drastic measures were employed.  Yet somehow man never seemed to get the message.  And so God was forced to start from scratch, which was what the 40 days of flooding was all about (Microsoft, are you listening?)

It’s easy to criticize Old Testament God for being rash and overly judgmental, but in fact he was supremely patient with the chosen people.  For example, when Abraham got one of his slave girls pregnant, God didn’t strike him down or even say anything.  Of course, Abraham got a major whammy when his wife Sarah took her son Isaac out to play and ran into Abraham’s concubine, who was out strolling with the illegitimate son.  Needless to say Abraham got an earful from Sarah and became despondent.  But God took him aside and told him he’d clean up the mess, relocating the concubine and her son to a new place –and even offering to give them a great blessing. So God, at times, came across almost like a good drinking buddy.

I realize that my interpretations of the Bible are not in line with official dogma, but they have enriched my appreciation of religion.  Reading the Bible has been helpful in understanding the evolution of man’s relationship with God.  Perhaps, I could benefit from a Bible study group, like the one advertised in a sign on St. Charles Avenue.  Close examination of the sign, which is pictured on the left (click on it for a larger view), reveals an interesting message.

As much as I’d like to find out about the Parks & Parkway’s interpretation of the Bible, I don’t really want to study religion in a group setting.  One on one study with Reverend Charles is much more appealing.  I had no idea that the Apostle Luke wasn’t from New Jersey.  Did you?

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  • Sophmom says:

    It’s been a long time for me but I read it from start to finish in college (2 semesters: Old Testament, then New Testament). Your interpretation is actually not far off of my, well, position of faith. Eve (with Adam’s cooperation) started us on choosing to be the one who gets to decide, and that God, throughout the Old Testament, kept trying to get us to let go of control, accept difficulty, love (God and each other) and trust. It seems to me that, if you’re following this line of reasoning, this repeated failure to get through to us culminated in his, out of complete frustration, showing us by example what he meant by becoming us. We’ve proven to be, as a species, slow to learn and determined to repeat our mistakes. I had a Catholic priest suggest to me a long time ago that codependency is “original sin”. It took me years to fully grasp that what he meant was that the need to control was humanity’s central shared flaw.

  • Ernie, glad to see your sense of humor is not damaged by reading the Bible. I suggest you read, or at least scan the book Genesis of Justice, by Alan Dershowitz if you have not already done so. It contains a good view of the stories there, and analysis from a lawyer.

    Also, you might try group study, as you know from law school, it provides a better learning experience. I would recommend a program called EFM, Education for Ministry. It is usually found in an Episcopal Church as it originates from Swanee University in Tennessee. Worldwide program, group meetings once a week, not restricted to only Episcopalians, begins with old testament, first year, new testament, second year, church history, third year and theology and philosophy fourth year.

  • Rick Klau says:

    Forget about the Bible, I want to know about Rev. Charles! Did he get a church? Please, please tell me he got a church.

  • Hey Ernie, I think your assessment is right on. The thing about reading the Bible is that it means something different to everyone. The problem comes from religion (meaning trying to follow rules and laws). I can assure you there are churches out there that are not religious (I know that sounds strange but I go to one).. Any way if you have any questions I would love to try to help. I am by no means an expert but I have read the Bible through a few times and I am still reading it currently in 1 Chronicles.. But I would love to help you out or try to answer any questions..

  • Chuck Newton says:

    I can tell you how the book ends.

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