February 27, 2014
The Bible Challenge
Snow often puts me in a reflective mood. And seemingly endless snow combined with a crackling fire in the fireplace, a mug full of hot tea that fits just so in my hands, and a heavy throw blanket wrapped snugly around my legs provide rich, fertile soil for contemplative musings, if not for reflective snoozing.
As we fast approach Lent and the coming of spring (despite evidence to the contrary), and as Paul's upcoming retirement draws closer, I've found myself reflecting on my own ministry to date, past, present and future. To my surprise, one of the thoughts that keeps sprouting up in my mind/heart is the following "true confession": Of all the books I've read, cover to cover, I have never actually read the entire Bible, cover to cover. Of all the books I’ve read, cover to cover, I have never actually read the entire Bible, cover to cover! I've read sections of it, of course (hard to avoid, given my vocation) -- chapters and significant chunks of it -- but never have I read the entire Bible straight through as one continuous book, as one continuous Story. And after much reflection (damn, that darn snow!), I've decided that now is the time for me to give it a go; or more accurately, I’ve decided that this Lent is as good a time as any for me to begin.
And yes, you might already be anticipating what I’m about to pitch next: I’m inviting you, dear person reading this reflection, to consider doing the same thing by taking on "The Bible Challenge" with me and others at Redeemer, beginning on Ash Wednesday.
Now at this point, I imagine you're thinking along the lines of one of the following:
- Ummm, let’s stop right there, missy, thanks but no thanks, that’s like asking me to bang my head against the wall when I already have a splitting headache and no Advil in sight. (Read the Bible cover to cover, you’ve got to be joking!) I have absolutely no interest in doing that whatsoever, nor do I have the time (and, by the way, what makes you think others will?! Don’t you realize we have lives outside the church? Get a grip, Cristina!) If this response accurately captures your present thoughts, I thank you for the time you took to read this reflection thus far and apologize for any discontent or mild irritation you may now be feeling; no worries and no need to read further, hope you are well and see you at the Jazz Mass this Sunday! By the way, have you bought your Mardi Gras tickets?
- Hmmm, honestly, I'm probably realistically not going to do this, but the idea is somewhat, vaguely intriguing. If this response accurately captures your present thoughts, I invite you to click HERE to learn a bit more.
- Hmmm, believe it or not, I might actually be interested in trying this, but I have a bunch of questions like: How many minutes a day would this take me? What if I can't read everyday? Or what if I skip some days? What if I drop out at some point? Can I listen to an audio Bible instead? Or read on my Kindle? Does it matter which translation I read? Can I do this with my family and kids? Are picture bibles okay? Will I have to attend some small group thing? Is there some sort of prize I might win, if I do it? If this response accurately captures your present thoughts, see my reply to (2) above.
- Huh, you know, I've actually thought about doing this myself ... OR ... I've never thought about doing this but now that I’m reading about it, I definitely would like to give it a try ... OR ... So I've actually done this before and would consider doing it again. Again, see my reply to (2) above.
The more, the merrier, they say! And since I’m a priest, of course I think it would be super cool for a bunch of us to do this Bible Challenge thing together (and maybe, every once in awhile, talk about what we’re reading, over food, of course). But that’s just me.
What about you?
LINK TO MORE INFO ON THE REDEEMER BIBLE CHALLENGE