Monday, July 8, 2013

The Very Beginning...

Hi, my name is Katie.

I am about to read the Bible.

"Big deal," is probably going to be the resounding response. "People do that every day!"

Well, true, it's probably not that big a deal for those for whom it's become a constant habit, but for me, it's kind of a thing.

Although I have never allowed myself to have a house that did not have a Bible in it, I haven't really picked it up in years.

I grew up in the church; as a baby I went to my first Easter service less than a month after my birth, still the dusty yellow-tan of a preemie born with jaundice, in a ruffly dress that I think even then showed the tomboy that would take over by the time I could dress myself. I never looked good in ruffles.

My mother has joked that my immune system was so good because I was passed around the congregation to hold so swiftly.

I was the toddler crawling around (and eventually napping) under the pews during service, the little kid singing hymns I didn't really understand with braying, tone-deaf gusto, the pre-teen reading Genesis (or, if I felt scandalous that day, Song of Songs) instead of listening to the sermon.

And then...  I kinda stopped.

The story of why is convoluted, complicated, and doesn't always make a ton of sense. The short version is simply that I began to have questions and disagreements that I did not feel the Church (not my little small-town church, exactly, but rather the larger Church that is the people who follow Christianity) was willing or sometimes able to answer. A part of it, too, was simple laziness; it is tough not to sleep until 11 on a Sunday when you're 14 and at the age of your life where you are most able to really enjoy it.

I stopped attending church regularly around the end of middle school. It is over ten years later, and I am just now starting to go back.

I've always had a Bible; I had a childrens' illustrated Bible when I was little, a teen study Bible all through high school and into college. A few years ago I bought a Women's Devotional Study Bible, as I had grown out of the teen one.

... and I didn't like it.

The translations aren't... right. I was raised on a steady diet of KJV for the most part, depending on which one I'd picked up that day, and this wasn't it. This didn't feel right, it didn't sound right. While it's nominally an NIV translation, I think even some of that isn't what rang true to me, something about the language doesn't quite work.

I didn't really enjoy the devotional sections, as I felt they were occasionally saccharine and rang too false. I know, of course, that this Bible is popular and that many women must gain from it what I wasn't able to find, but I recently decided to pick up a new one.

I went to the bookstore and bought the Bible that stuck out and sang to me the most; the Archaeological Study Bible. It's a huge brick of a book, perfect in every way for who I am as a person. It contains sections going into archaeological digs in the Middle East and elsewhere that help shed light on context and culture, that turn the Bible into something written by living people, a book whose words were formed by people whose entire lives were so very different from ours.

And still, there's the thread between them and us.


I've decided to read the Bible, a few verses at a time, and really think about them. I'll probably only do a few pages and then a blog post on where I am. I'm starting, as Julie Andrews would say, at the very beginning; with Genesis.

The title of each blog post will be the verses I decided to focus on today; that should help anyone who may ever come across this and want to check out the archives. The labels below each post should help, too; you can find similar blog posts that way.

And, of course, sometimes I'll just talk a little bit about my life, the church I grew up in, the church I am trying to attend now. Books I've read that I think have helped this resurgence in faith, events that have led me to want to find the fellowship I have known for years was missing.

I won't start the actual Bible-reading until next week. I plan to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Mondays will be the Bible verses I focused on that day and ruminations on what I read. Wednesday will consist of thought-provoking or inspirational quotes. Friday will either be my more personal day - the day where what I write will be about me or my world (or yours) - or possible reviews or conversations about books I'm reading that relate to my project.

Comments are open; please leave one. If you disagree with me, I ask that you do so with respect and not with insults, but I also ask that you do so. I want to hear you! I want to talk to you. I want book recommendations, suggested reading, articles and links and thoughts. So please please please comment. I only ask that you leave a name I can call you by. Feel free to e-mail me suggested quotes or food for thought

So... I suppose that's all I have to say about this idea I've had today. I'll get the ball rolling, though, and start with quotes on Wednesday and  a little bit about a couple of books I've recently read on Friday.

Then next Monday, we'll start where everything starts;

we'll start with Genesis 1:1.

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