Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Five

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
It's not a text exactly, but my earliest memory of the Bible is when my grandma, an old missionary and teacher taught us a song about the books of the Old Testament. I wish I still knew it, but I can only get 12 books in (first and second kings....) before I trail off. I remember memorizing verses in Sunday school when we were on Madeline Island, which puts me at about 8 or 9. I liked "Jesus wept" because it was short.

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes). I seem to turn most to the Message these days.

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?
I've spent the most time over the years with Acts, which I love for making the Christian life into such an adventure. But I don't have any favorite passages that last, except for see the question on psalms below. They change so often, with circumstances and readings.

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 don't really have it in for any whole book. Hmm, verses that make me want to scream - well, I think I'm most sorry about how "no one comes to the Father except through me" has been abused and misused. Although, my favorite sermon I ever wrote is about that passage, so I have a funny sort of fondness for it for that reason.

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?
Depends. Too much gender neutral language for God is distracting to me and seems to be code for whatever the reader/hearer's image of God is anyway. I much prefer some male images of God, and some female. Inclusive language for the congregation, however, is imperative. I learned this from my mother, who improvised new words to hymns right in the pew, way before the New Century Hymnal came along. Sometimes when people complain about the language in there, by the way, I encourage them to go ahead and change the words, "just like women have been doing with the words in the old red hymnal for years."

Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart? Psalm 46, especially verses 1-5, (although "be still and know that I am God" which comes later is one of my most frequently repeated prayers).
Here it is, in the King James version:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved:
God shall help her, and that right early.


Sally said...

I love psalm 46- thanks for the reminder- well played.

jill said...

Yes--well played and very thoughtful. Thank you.

revhipchick said...

beautiful play.

what terrific stories you must have heard (and experienced) having a missionary grandmother.

beautiful Psalm.

Songbird said...

I love it that we were both up in the middle of the night quoting Psalm 46. (((juniper)))

chartreuseova said...

I love the thought of improvising new words to hymns right in the pew. And that you encourage that!

Anonymous said...

Right there with you on the gender-neutral language (though I'm sure some of my UCC colleagues would be grumpy to hear it). Jesus was a boy. "Godself" gets old. I try to use a wide variation of images and language, figuring that way I affront everyone instead of just a few. But the human stuff has to be inclusive.

And "be still" is a very good one.

Melissa said...

I definitely agree...the image of changing the words to the hymns is a great one -- definitely a time-honored tradition!

Mother Laura said...

Well, so far Psalm 46 is in the lead with two votes (you and Songbird).

I often use feminine language for God because I find the constant masculine language (except for Jesus, of course) problematic, but agree with you that too much gender neutral stuff can get repetitive and impersonal.

leah sophia said...

i'm with you on both The Message and Acts. thanks for a great play!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your answer to #1, and thanks for the reminder about Psalm 46.

Jan said...

Nice to hear about your missionary grandmother. I'm envious of those of you who had relatives to show you the Way. Ps. 46 is lovely. Thanks.

Wyldth1ng said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wyldth1ng said...

I will have to read Acts again sometime, I didn't know.
Good Play.

Diane said...

I loved what you said about Acts, and about using both masculine and feminine images for God instead of all "neutral".

Great play!

juniper68 said...

Cheers all and double cheers Songbird for our identical posts :) Next time I'm up at 2 am I'll give you a call....

juniper68 said...

Cheers all and double cheers Songbird for our identical posts :) Next time I'm up at 2 am I'll give you a call....