Sunday, March 7, 2010

Operation March: Introduction

Edit: I wrote this in March after deciding I needed to blog about reading through the Bible in a month to keep me from going crazy along the way. I kept it up for a few days and then it somehow petered out. My apologies. I decided to go ahead and publish the few that I did write; I hope you enjoy them.

A friend of mine inspired me to try to read through the entire Bible in one month. This month. I was rather surprised that this would sound appealing to me but the more I thought about it the more it seemed to be the thing to do.

I have the time, I have been thinking about the Bible and it's role in life, Christianity, and my life in particular, and I believe I have finally matured enough to have a chance at accomplishing a deadline I set for myself.

This morning begins the seventh day and, as further proof that this is God inspired, I am still relatively excited about the idea. The few days before March started, when I was still deciding whether I wanted to go for this and risk making a fool of myself I was already thinking of strategies to help myself make it to the end.

I decided that I'd best get the boring and specially intimidating books out of the way as soon as possible, this mostly included the last three books of the Pentateuch. I would spread the Psalms and Proverbs out so that I'd be reading some of them each day. I'd try to read whole books at a time seeing as I am much more likely to keep reading if I have a book to finish.

I found out that there are 1189 chapters in the Bible and to finish reading all of them in 31 days means I'd have to average about 40 a day. I decided to use The Message as my version of choice because the more I hear of it the more respect I have for it. It was only a few days into it that I realized that it's also the only Bible I currently own that has words big enough to read for a month without going blind before the end.

Thus far I have read:
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Lamentations
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
Reading through them at such a rate is maddening, relieving, and surprisingly enjoyable. It gives me enough to think about that my brain is near exploding but it keeps my thoughts moving so fast that I can't get stuck on one idea. So far, the biggest thing I have come away with is God's shear size. He is delightfully terrifying and totally beyond me. I am humbled in a very non-humiliating way.

As I read certain parts and ideas from my life surface regularly, I often think of a quote I recently heard on TV " . . . in mythical religious books such as the Bible." I have no very strong opinion about this quote. When I consider the absurdity of God, both as recorded in the Bible and as experienced in my own small life, it is no surprise to me that He has been relegated to myth. If you want to look wise, beware of God.

I think of my current plan to apply to Oxford University before the year is out. I believe that I have a good chance of being accepted, or at least that hurdle does not concern me because there is another that seems much bigger. How could it be payed for? As I read, I think that God is big enough, but also that no one can predict Him. I have always wanted adventure but I don't think I bargained for one as big as God.

As I read, my past motives often haunt me. They are little more sinister then Nearly Headless Nick but still a bit annoying. A few years ago, (maybe even months, who knows?) if I had undertaken this plan then it would have been full of conflicted thoughts.

"I would be so proud to read the Bible through in just a month, everyone would be impressed! Is it okay to read the Bible so quickly? It's probably very disrespectful to read the Bible so fast. If I do start, I know I'll never finish, I never finish anything."

Variations of these swim through my head but I have made it my habit to ignore them as much as possible. They are neither here, nor there, nothing more than passing thoughts. It is not my business to deal with any of them.

With fresh revelation of God's sheer size also comes some awkwardness in our relationship. I cannot, yet, ponder for long His vast terribleness and still come quite as boldly to His presence. If our relationship rested on me, this would probably be the time when I repented from elevating myself to the status of His child, fellow heir with Christ. Oddly enough though, I didn't elevate myself to such a position, He did. I am not likely to argue this or any point very animatedly with a God as huge as I suspect He might be.

As I watch God grow in my mind, the questions grow as well. This scares me. Until I realize that He is inviting me to grow with Him.


Alaina said...

The whole thing was loverly to read, and I really appreciate your sharing (as always), but the last statement really impacted me:
"Until I realize that He is inviting me to grow with Him."
Oh I just love that! I don't think I ever thought of that in that light before...

Once again, thanks for giving me a whole new perspective.

Love you.

shieldmaiden said...

Alaina, I cannot lie, I thought that was brilliant as well. It obviously wasn't my idea. ;) So glad you like it.