New Experience #17: Read an Entire Book of the Bible

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! πŸ™‚ 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!

β—Š β—Š β—Š β—Š β—Š

Here is the type of passage that fits more with how I see the world, and from where I draw inspiration:

(source)

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.
  • Flush.
  • 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*…

lululemon inspiration

Right, Dorry?! πŸ™‚

Enjoy your Saturday!

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Comments

  • Lisa  On May 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I’m impressed that you persevered!

    I’ve never read the bible…or an entire chapter. My sister and I once said we were going to (but I think I was about 10), and we took turns reading it out loud …for about a page and a half.

    I like the close-eyes-flip-open-read approach! I do that with a lot of books that are supposed to have “messages.”

    My mom was a kindergarten teacher too! She didn’t continue it till retirement though…but she is definitely an expert at that list, as I’m sure your mom is πŸ™‚

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      It takes a special person to teach the little ones!
      Glad you do the random page finding method, too!

  • Julie  On May 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I will also say that I don’t take it too seriously — I understand that it was men translating and also there were influences of the times on the writing. I take nothing literally, or as “absolutely truth” — perhaps a bit sacreligious when reading the Bible!!!

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      ah, thanks so much for the extra details on your reading, julie – fascinating! i really appreciate your insights and your point of view. i like that: one chapter in the a.m. and one in the p.m. – good method. now i’m kinda intrigued to put “read the entire Bible” on my Life’s Bucket List! maybe you’ll do a re-read as a 50th Birthday Year Challenge – still many years til that milestone, though!!

  • Julie  On May 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Hey Cathy — I don’t remember the exact timeline, but it took me 2 – 3 years of reading 2- 3 chapters a day (one from Old Testament in the morning and 1 from New Testament in the evening and the occasional noon-time read). I also reread all the Gospels every Christmas — the whole story of Jesus life is so my favourite. In fact I do really prefer the New Testament. I found Revelations interesting, but confounding….Exodus though is so heavy!!!!!! I did persever through all the “rules” and read the whole thing. However, we are now talking almost 10 years since I’ve done it….and I’ve never picked it up again. Perhaps when I’m in my 50’s it will call to me again.

  • Zo  On May 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I’ve never attempted to read the Bible…I had sunday school years ago but that’s it.

    I found the “don’t boast about tomorrow” proverb interesting. Like not taking shortcuts, I get nervous talking about good future plans because anything could happen between now and then. So, I tend to say “I’m supposed to do such and such” rather than “I’m going to…” I did sort of chalk it up to religious superstition, but didn’t realize there was a direct line!

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      I hear you! You want to avoid a jinx! I like your vocab choice: supposed to leaves some wiggle room for future plans!
      I have good memories of children’s bible story books-i like those versions for ease of comprehension, too!

  • Gina Unger  On May 28, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Wow! You read the whole book of Proverbs! Way to go! I’ve only read entire books in the New Testament. I think Holly is right. And you have a good idea, too. You’d most certainly enjoy reading the NT better, I think. Try some of these ones…Ephesians, Philippians, James, Corinthians, Titus… these are letters that were written to people long ago to address specific events going on at that time, but there is a lot of wisdom we can glean for today’s world, too. I have been doing exactly what your idea to do next is… opening up the Bible and reading whatever I open up to (in the NT only!) πŸ™‚

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

      Thank you for the specific NT references to try, gina! Sounds like a good idea to try a NT book next. Haha, glad you do the random flip-open, too! And I bet you find passages that make you say “coincidence, I think not,” right?!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg  On May 28, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I personally think that since the Bible was translated so many times over the years, that things get lost — words don’t necessarily translate perfectly into English — know what I mean? But I guess you also have to look at the Bible as a whole — later on Christ talks about getting away from the old laws (in the Old Test.), etc, so those older verses in Proverbs is not something I take super seriously.

    Good for you for pushing through though!

    • 1970kikiproject  On May 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

      thanks, holly! as i kept reading, i just kept picturing king solomon surrounded by his cohorts, expounding wisdom…maybe i should take on a new testament chapter, next!

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