Friday, October 12, 2007

b-i-b-l-e friday 5

crossposting from this far by faith

Here's Columbus Day's wonderfully impossible b-i-b-l-e Friday 5, on Rev Gal Blog Pals hosted by Mother Laura of Junia's Daughter
Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?

The B-I-B-L-E,
Oh, that's the book for me.
I take my stand on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E.

I have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you non-liturgical gals and pals, that's a set of prayers for morning, noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical texts).

So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word—or don't—in our lives, prayer, and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as yesterday's Ask The Matriarch post dealt with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).

So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:
No, I don't remember that songs and still haven't learned it, though I've heard it a few times. I love this F5 and again I'm later than I like to be, so my answers will be far shorter than complete or comprehensive.

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?

As a young, unchurched undergrad, I was just starting out in my first (American Baptist) church home when the depth of the entire book of Romans mystified and intrigued me, while it seemed as if everyone else in the community knew it well (at least the text). Fast-forwarding, a lot more than a few years: in one of my current churches the Sunday adult class had elected to study Romans, and we'd divided facilitating the group between the two of us who had some formal training in bible and theology. One Sunday the guy who'd been scheduled to lead us wasn't in church, and the following Sunday he said to me, "I assumed you'd lead the class when you saw I wasn't there." At that point I realized I could have lead a discussion of Romans without immediately recent preparation, though I sure wouldn't want to.

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).

NRSV, though needless to say I appreciate others, especially New King James Version and The Message.

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?

A few: from the Hebrew Bible, especially Deuteronomy and 2nd Isaiah; in the New Covenant scriptures, Galatians, Romans, Luke/Acts. I'll chose only a single verse out of too many possibles, Galatians 3:28, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?

In liberty I'll disagree with Luther's opinion of James, and rather than specific verse or passages (interest of time, remember) I'll mention people's unfortunate habit of forming their own canon of only books and passages that they can interpret in a manner that reflects their own biases and preferences (hey, I probably do that, as well).

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?

Totally for, and I embarrass myself when I fail in that regard or when I fail to take the time to make my own translations or tweak others' versions. I love Laura's phrase expansive language.

Bonus: Back to the Psalms—which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?

Lots and lots, but for now I'll mention Psalm 119; I also love JS Bach's pair of settings of "These are the Holy Ten Commandments" in his Small and Large Catechism Chorales (for you non-musicians out there, Bach, who was a totally passionate and very Lutheran follower of The Way of Jesus Christ, composed a version of Luther's Small and Large Catechisms for organ), the first is so Psalm 1:2a "My Delight is in the Law of the Lord" while the second is so Psalm 1:2b "I meditate on thy law all day long." I'll end by quoting the verse that's part of my current Blogger profile: "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Psalm 73:25

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