Category Archives: The B-I-B-L-E

I don’t usually like to commit this early in a relationship, but:

I am just now into “Bible Babel,” by Kristin Swenson.

Anyone read it yet? I’m really, really loving it. It’s clear-eyed and easy to read and absolutely dissects the fruitlessness of trying to literally interpret the Bible.

Anyway. Consider this my endorsement. Watch book sales shoot up by one, maybe two whole books.

Sir Ian McKellan explains

And thanks, Sis. Sharon, for the link.

Do you think this is true?

And thanks, Digg, for the link.

What Jesus said about people who abuse children

As interpreted by Matthew S. Rindge, who teaches religious studies at Gonzaga University. He wrote:

Jesus’ following saying seems especially pertinent to the current Vatican sex abuse scandal. Referring to children as “little ones,” he warns, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt 18:6).

To those who might hurt a child, Jesus offers suicide as an alternative and perhaps surprising course of action. The intent of his instruction here is not retributive. The goal is not punishment of the abuser but protection of potential victims. Taking one’s life is preferable, he claims, to harming a child. So, too, it seems, is self-mutilation. Jesus considers harming children so vile that he claims hell awaits those who “put a stumbling block” before them. One can, however, avoid this “eternal fire” by cutting off one’s body parts that might damage a child (Matt 18:7-9).

Allowing Matthew 18 to speak meaningfully today does not require a literalistic insistence that (potential) abusers take their own lives or mutilate themselves. But the text insists upon exploring every possible option before harming a child. Thousands of children’s lives could have been saved if abusers had explored alternatives. They explored instead the lives, bodies, and souls of vulnerable little ones.

You can read the rest here.

‘Tis like a dream come true!

The National Bible Bee is taking registrations.

So? Any of you heathens in? We can have a Dating Jesus Team, with t-shirts that say something vague that reflects our collective spiritual ennui.

I have to admit I’m a little rusty, but if the prizes are fabulous, I can certainly refresh my memory…

Happy birthday, King James Version!

On this day in 1611, the King James Bible was introduced (scroll down for the proper entry), with the hope that the Bible would bring England together.

It took seven years to complete and was the third official English version of the sacred text. And thanks, Sis. Sharon, for the link. Sis. Sharon and I agree that there are parts of this version that — though dense — are downright beautiful. I added the “dense” part, though.

If you aren’t reading the KJV, the version Jesus read, I feel a little sorry for you.

And if you aren’t laughing at that previous sentence, I feel even sorrier. But here’s just a sampling from Psalms 23, whatever your stance:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Noah’s ark may have been found

And it’s supposed to have been found resting atop Mt. Ararat in Turkey, right where it’s supposed to have come to rest after the Great Flood.

There are, of course, some skeptics/heathens/scientists. This’ll be interesting, to see if it’s true.

The Bible as weapon

Chaplain Mike has an interesting post at Internet Monk.

And yes, I remember fondly using the Bible as a weapon. I was actually quite skilled it, she said, bragging. But then I realized that the only thing that’s left after you use a weapon is a wounded person.

The Book of Acts in just under 90 seconds

And thanks, Bro. Jay, for the link.

The virgin birth as political treatise

The Rev. Howard Bess — he’s the retired Baptist minister whose clergy training book, “Pastor, I Am Gay” bothered then-Mayor Sarah Palin so much — has another way to look at the traditional Christmas story.

He writes:

The ancient world was full of miraculous birth stories. It was a favorite way for rulers to claim divine rights. It was a literary tool that was waiting for early Christians to use to declare the divine specialness of the one they called Lord.

The birth narratives that were eventually attached to Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels, were stories that were created and circulated to counter the claim of the Caesars to be divine and worthy to be called Lord. Every claim of specialness for Caesar was countered by the claim that all his titles belonged to Jesus.

The birth narratives are as much political treatise as theological statement. They cannot be found as a part of the earliest memories of followers of Jesus and make sense only in the context of their Roman oppressors claim for divinity.