Sunday, March 19, 2006

Jesus' Greatest Hits: Volume 1

Last night I was telling my mother that I'd bought two Bibles for one of my friends. I wanted the NRSV translation, but also wanted a compact Bible, and couldn't find the combination I wanted. So I bought I regular-sized NRSV and a compact TNIV.

When I explained this to my mother, she asked, "What does 'compact' mean? Just that it's smaller?" I told her yes - 'compact' just referred to size. But then I teased, "No mom, it's the 'highlights' edition of the Bible. Only the best included." She envisioned one of those commercials - you know the kind, for the CD compilations of love songs, etc. - with Jesus performing the hits: Sermon on the Mount. The Last Supper. The Passion: Remix. Can't you just imagine?

Of course, now that I am blogging through the Bible in 90 days, along with a group of bloggers, I don't think my idea is so crazy. I could have done without 1 and 2 Chronicles for the most part. Now, in the midst of the prophets (I'm about 10 days behind - apparantly, doing my own program: The Bible in 101 days.), Jeremiah and Ezekiel are sounding an awful lot alike, and God has condemned just about every geographical area I can think of at least twice. Even the Psalms, some of which I love, were getting repetitive - starting out in a lovely, poetic fashion, and ending with the Psalmist calling for God to smite all enemies.

But kidding aside, reading the Bible so quickly like this, I've renewed my appreciation for all of it, even the stuff that's harder to wade through. I never could understand Bibles that included only The New Testament and Psalms/Proverbs - perhaps one version of the Bible's Greatest Hits. I may be a flaming liberal, and I find things in scripture with which I disagree wholeheartedly, and I certainly don't interpret it literally, but I love the scriptures, love the story of God and God's people, love the ways people struggle and understand God differently, and express their faith in God differently. John Wesley often talked about the "whole scope and tenor" of the scriptures - the wholeness and unity of the Bible that is expressed when you look at it not as separate verses, but as one book.

I may have in my mind my own version of "Greatest Hits" - verses that inspire me. But the whole book - that's what truly challenges me.
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