Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Five: B-I-B-L-E

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
Being read the Noah and the Ark story in kindergarten Sunday School. Of course, it being a Roman Catholic Sunday School, we weren't permitted to speculate on what it meant (only priests could do that back them). So the question of a loving God destroying everybody could not be raised, but I thought it. That's what happens when you get these stories out of context, even amongst five-year-olds, I guess.
2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).
NRSV for the scholarship and KJV for the exquisite poetry. Not big on paraphrases like The Message or The Word on the Street (a hip-hop paraphrase). Seems like middle-aged white people trying to be hip and failing miserably.
3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?
OT: Genesis, and NT: Revelation. I also feel a deep connection to the Book of Ruth, since that's the first one I translated from Hebrew, and since I love the story. My favorite verse comes from there: "Where you go, I shall go..."
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?
I struggle with Leviticus and Deuteronomy, not only because of the infamous texts used to condemn gay people, but because long lists of what to eat and what to wear and how to set up the table is to me such an alien way to approach relationship with the Divine. Hard to believe from an Episcopalian who loves the rubrics of liturgy, but it's true! I suppose this also explains my discomfort with approaches like "The Purpose-Driven Life."
5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?
If it's done well, I like it. It seems a matter (as RM has said) of hospitality. On the other hand, when it reads like a clumsy attempt at political correctness rather than graceful and grace-filled language, I cringe.
Bonus: Back to the Psalms–which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?
I'm with my buddy RM, Psalm 139. I find something new in it every time I go back to it.

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