I feel a little bit bad reporting on today’s New Experience because it’s going to sound negative, overall, and it’s about the Bible. I don’t feel comfortable with that juxtaposition. Speaking unfavourably about a sacred text…am I playing with fire??!
I hope I am not struck down.
Back on April 12th, I mentioned that I was reading the book of Proverbs…and it was not going well. I received helpful and thoughtful suggestions about how to get more out of my Bible reading. To be honest, I didn’t follow any of your ideas. I continued my slog through all 31 chapters, managing to read a few paragraphs, 1/4 page, once in while a whole chapter (!) per evening before bed. [The situation did not improve once I started reading The Help; hmmm, try to decipher boring Biblical verse, OR dive back into the completely captivating story of Aibileen, Minny, Skeeter et al...yea].
My complaints about Proverbs:
- the references to loose women, adulteresses, harlots – - > I was just not expecting this. Also, I can tell a man wrote Proverbs – it’s male-centric.
- ___ but ___ – - > maybe it’s supposed to be poetic, but I got tired of reading this writing style. An example: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” (Chapter 10, verse 12) [Chapter 6 is written alllllllll in this style]
- convoluted logic: at times, I read and re-read verses, paragraphs, even just one line trying to find the profundity. Maybe I need to have meditation time in the morning when my brain is fresh?? Example of what flummoxed me: “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to want.” (Chapter 14, verse 23) [????]
Anyway, I’m happy I persevered. I did find some words of wisdom within the pages of Proverbs, but true, outright gems were few and far between.
The problem, too, is that this book of the Bible was not what I expected – I thought I was going to get a whole Biblical book of a-ha’s, words of solace, uplifting passages of inspiration, and that just didn’t happen. I can blame Dad! He recommended that I read Proverbs to find comfort. So, I was expecting other than what I found – like a mental bait and switch. I like the Psalms I have read much more.
In order to be positive, here are a few passages I found meaningful, and underlined in pen in my Revised Standard Version:
“There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that have shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.” (Chapter 6 verses 16-19)
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Chapter 15 verse 1)
“A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” (Chapter 17, verse 22)
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.” (Chapter 27, verses 1-2)
Will I read another book of the Bible? Yes. But I need a break. Maybe after The Help. I think I would like to try the book of Psalms next.
ALTHOUGH…you know what I really would like to do: have the Bible in front of me, close my eyes, flip it open, and read the passage I find. That method speaks to my Kiki-sense of happenstance and “coincidence? I think not” way of seeing the world. Yes. That is what I am going to try.
Have you ever read the entire Bible? Is it a life goal? My friend Julie has read the whole Bible! I’d love to know how long that took her!
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Here is the type of passage that fits more with how I see the world, and from where I draw inspiration:
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
(a guide for Global Leadership)
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.
These are the things I learned:
- Share everything.
- Play fair.
- Don’t hit people.
- Put things back where you found them.
- Clean up your own mess.
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Wash your hands before you eat.
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
- Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
- Take a nap every afternoon.
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
- Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
- And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Right, Mom? [Mom is a retired kindergarten teacher!]
or *even better*…
Enjoy your Saturday!