Tag Archives: Bible in 90 Days

Days 18-19, 90 Days Through the Bible – The Book of Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel

Judging YouProbably a weird thing to say, but Judges is my favorite book in the OT. It feels like the Wild West. There is a sense of law vs. lawlessness in the claiming of this new land. And much like the European visitors who tried to take the land from the Native Americans, the would-be settlers were not always behaving as though they were righteous or just. Judges gives us a picture of people vacillating between right and wrong. It feels real, gritty, and more relatable than the wanderings in the desert we’ve been dealing with the last couple of weeks. Still, this book also contains some HORRIFIC passages, and none are worse than the Jephthah’s daughter debacle. What a disaster of a promise Jephthah makes and what an awful result.

On to the notes!

  • Judges 1 – Here’s the first reference to Jerusalem (I think?). Amazing to see this important city enter through violence. It is still such a divided place today and it began as a divided place in Judges. Just a preview of what’s to come…
  • Funny how just a generation after Joshua dies, the people forget the Lord. Do we have the same problem? Do we take for granted the exploits and sacrifices of our parents? Grandparents and beyond?
  • “Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…” We run into this phrase an awful lot over the next 20+ chapters, don’t we?
  • Othniel doesn’t get very much of a story, just a short paragraph in chapter 3. I wish there was more to his backstory.
  • Judges 3:12-30 – WOW that’s a lot of violence all of the sudden. Killing a guy in the bathroom? Again, best book in the OT. Wild stories.
  • I love the introduction of Deborah.resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-can-i-call-you-deborah-debbie-c7dd8e Here we have a very strong female leader who takes up the mantle when the male general is unwilling to do so alone. If this isn’t great rationale for female leadership and ordination, then I don’t know what is. Deborah is called by God to lead the people with her gifts, talents, and faith. I want my daughter to know this story. I want my son to know this story. I want all people to read the scripture with an eye toward the whole – what is God’s ultimate message about our relationships with one another, strangers, friends, and even our enemies.
  • Judges 6 – The Sign of the Fleece – Gideon may be blessed, anointed, and touched by God, but he doesn’t have a ton of trust in God, does he? It’s funny how he test God once and when God passes, he decides to retest God. What does he think, the first time was a fluke? God got lucky?
  • And the very next chapter we get an army chosen because they drink like dogs? This stuff is hilarious, awesome, fantastic, and hopeful. I really, really enjoy this book.
  • Judges 11 – Jephthah’s vow feels like the beginning of the end for the book. Why do we make deals with God that God does not ask us to make? Why would you bargain with God when there is no need to bargain? This poor girl. What an awful story…
  • And onto the scene burst Samson! Here is yet another child of promise, born to a previously barren mother. There will be many more of these individuals in the scriptures that follow. My favorite Grateful Dead song? “Samson and Delilah” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQXv4JL0Fzg
  • The Samson chronicles are great to teach kids…until everybody starts dying…and we have to deal with the weird sexual stuff…and the genocide…and animal abuse…and blindings…and, well, I’ll take back my previous statement.
  • And after Samson comes another passage I didn’t really learn in Sunday School. Judges 19 describes the horrible rape of two women and the civil war that follows between the various tribes involved in the incident. You’ll notice that God is absent from this section. The people were without any clear leadership, faith, or hope.

Ruth

  • c3f00e52b4e59b8ff7c01a97a1f2aba9Ruth was one of the first books I preached on when I became thepastor at The Peoples church. I love the way this book provides a hope that was missing in Judges. It’s kind of a palate cleanser for the end of the last book. Now THIS is a story you can teach to all ages. After the NC-17 Judges, we have the more digestible PG Ruth…with a few scenes of adult situations (threashing room floor comes to mind).
  • Who are the people picking up the sheaves in our culture? Do we leave the sheaves out for them?
  • Names are important.
  • Everyone has the responsibility for another person. We are all called to take care of others, aren’t we?
  • Boaz and Ruth are part of the lineage of David, and a little farther down the line, the genealogy of Jesus. Makes you start to wonder about all the questionable characters in Jesus’ background.

1 Samuel

  • We’re just starting this book today.
  • We encounter yet another child of promise. Hannah prays for a child and is eventually rewarded. So what does she do with her new baby? Gives him away to the temple.
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Day 12 – February 12 – 90 Days through the Bible – Numbers 22-32

We’re on vacation for the next few days so my posts will come at odd times. It’s Great Wolf Lodge Family Picalways good to get away for short trip to reconnect, relax, and enjoy some lowkey fun.

That’s not what’s happening this trip.

We are staying at The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI. It’s like an eight year old’s version of Vegas – no clocks, tons of external stimulation, lots of opportunities to spend money, and a sensory overload. We’ve got water parks, arcades, tons of junk food, and everything our kids could want. The upside is we’re spending time with great friends (hello, Hoyts and Aylworths!), great family (Joe and Rhi!) and each other. We’re exhausted and enjoying the non-relaxing time away from East Lansing.

That said, I’m still reading…just not at the same pace. The posts will come at odd times but they will come. Here’s day 12!

  • Today’s reading kick off with the best story from Numbers: Balaam, donkeythe donkey, and the angel. If you can’t teach a Sunday School lesson from this book, then there isn’t much hope for you. A talking donkey? The donkey with more sense than the prophet? I love this passage.
  • There are a few instances in scripture when the names of principle characters are so similar that it becomes quite confusing – Balaam and Balak, Elijah and Elisha, even Peter and Paul. I know, I know, the names are different and I should be able to tell the difference. I’m trying to see this through the eyes of my six and eight year olds. The Bible is already a pretty confusing. Try listening to difficult passages with similar sounding names and you just space out. I’m not advocating we change the names, just that we’d have some sensitivity when people say they are confused by the Bible. That’s a very legitimate statement for them to make. As a pastor, I already overemphasize the denominational business we celebrate at The Peoples Church – the nuanced theological distinctions that separate Methodists from Presbyterians, Congregationalists from Baptists. By throwing in muddled source material as the foundation for these theological ramblings, we seem to create an even more spiritually and biblical-ly illiterate congregation. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
  • well-that-escalated-jmg8n6Numbers 25 – That got out of hand rather quickly, I’d say? My goodness that was brutal. A spear through the belly of the man and the woman? And then, the greatest downplay of a statement in Numbers 25:9 “Nevertheless, those that died by the plague were 24,000.” These are the types of passages people read and say, “I’m done,” when it comes to reading scripture. How can you not? I know there is some rhetorical hyperbole going on here but still. The blood, death, and suffering is overwhelming! G—and K–, how are you getting through this stuff?
  • Number 26 – You have this brutally violent passage in chapter 25 and then switch to a census in chapter 26? Kind of a let down. Not that I like the violence but it seems like the census is a bit of filler.
  • I’ve always been a fan of Joshua. I like seeing him receive some recognition in chapter 27.
  • Serious observation – Numbers 28 describes the differences between daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, and monthly offerings. What do those look like in our lives? What things do we give monthly vs. daily?
  • Gender roles in the ancient world are always a bit prickly to our modern ears. The idea that vows made by men are so different from those made by women (numbers 30) speaks to the role of girls, women, wives, and mothers in the biblical world. Do we just read past these passages and say, “Different place, different times” or do we try and rationalize these verses in some other way? I don’t advocate the outright rejection of concepts, values, and passages we might disagree with on the surface. In our multi-denominational situation at The Peoples Church we struggle with the same notion of acceptance, inclusion, and exclusivity – if we are four denominations simultaneously, then how do we reconcile doctrines between the denoms that seem to contradict one another (infant baptism seems to be the easiest example I can think of)?
  • The Midianites are really taking it on the chin in Numbers.
  • The pacifist in me takes issue with all the war, genocide, and outright despicable behavior encountered in these parts of the OT. I’m ending today on a sour note. Here’s hoping tomorrow picks up a bit. Maybe?

Stop Reading the Bible – Day 10-11

Stop Reading the Bible – Day 10-11 – Feb. 10-11 – Leviticus 27 – Numbers 8 and Numbers 9-21

Forgive my extreme irreverence and borderline heresy, but is that what the book of Numbers is intended to do? To get you to stop reading scripture and give up?

I Don't Know

At the very least, I believe Numbers has been strategically placed where it is in the OT with the sole purpose of challenging your good intentions. It sits there after the narrative parts of the Torah, giving you the impression that it may have a similar narrative quality. Instead, we are presented with lists and censuses throughout. There are some good spots but this text contains far less obvious stories than the previous three books of family tales, laws, and escape. So what do we do with books, passages, and verses like this? How do we navigate through theologically challenging waters? What do we make of genealogies? Laws? Wars? Repetition? And what about repetition?

That said, I’m powering through and will not buckle in the face of a confusingly long list of names, numbers, and animals. This book does have some outstanding parts that are often overlooked because of the difficult landscape around them. Encourage me, folks. Inspire me. Motivate me. Shame me, if you have to. Just don’t let me give up and don’t let me skip anything.

G—and K–, you two can do this. Don’t give up…and don’t let me give up.

“Numerical” thoughts:

  • Numbers 1 – I like (that’s not the right word…I am interested in) the way they decide who gets counted for the census. “…everyone able to go to war…” That puts a spin of reality into the count.
  • Roll call! Who’s here? Let’s start with Reuben…
  • Having the Levites (people from Levi’s lineage) singled out for special service seems an awful lot like “Divergent.” Do you want to be a Levite? Does it matter if you would rather be a soldier? Nope. You’re a priest. Your dad was a priest. His dad was a priest. You’re going to be a priest.divergent-hunger-games
  • Numbers 2-3 – Again, I feel like dystopian teen fiction is my go-to point of reference today. This chapter in Numbers feels like “Hunger Games.” Everybody go to their district, under their flag, and wait for instructions from the Capital, i.e. Moses and the Levites. Actually, the Levites are like the tributes, offered on behalf of the whole nation. I guess being a priest isn’t nearly as bad as a blood sport, competition to the death in front of a captive national audience. Soooooo, maybe my comparison to “The Hunger Games” doesn’t really hold up.
  • Anybody else ever watch the ridiculously foul “Always Sunny in Philadelphia?” The introduction to the work of the Kohathites feels like “Charlie-work.” It seems like the kinda stuff you trick your buddy into doing because he’s a nice guy and you don’t want to do it yourself.Charlie Work
  • Numbers 5 – I like that the laws here are a welcome respite from lists of people. Everything is relative, I guess. Now then, let’s hear more about restitution…
  • My current favorite passage in this Biblical journey – Numbers 6:5 “The shall let the locks of the head grow long.” Did I mention I love Numbers?
  • Truly, the best part of Numbers is the priestly benediction – Numbers 6:22-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
  • Numbers 8:25 – Mandatory age of retirement for the Levites is 50. Not a bad deal…
  • Biblical diet? The awesome stuff listed in Numbers 11:5 – Fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. I want to cook that up now.
  • My friend, colleague, and brother in Christ, Raymond Bonwell preached from Numbers 11 at my October 20 2011 installation service at The Peoples Church. Great stuff and good memories. It’s amazing how a small piece of scripture can illicit such powerful memories of the past. Thank you, Raymond, for your biblical wisdom and pastoral knowledge. Please try not to mock my humorous attempt to work my way through the fantastic OT with snark, wit, and heresy…with a dash of faithfulness, grace, hope and Christ.
  • Funny verse – Numbers 12:3 “Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.” I’m the most humble guy out there…God just said so. How could he not make that joke with Aaron and Joshua later in the day?
  • More rebelling and doubt by the Israelites – after all they saw and experienced, why would they doubt God’s ability and willingness to help them enter into the land? We all have such short term memories.
  • 40 years kept out of the promised land…what a punishment?! Things take a terrible turn in Numbers 14.
  • The revolt of Korah – this passage is referenced in the extremely short NT epistle of Jude (v 11). Fun Biblical fact?
  • Numbers 20 – Moses and Aaron are now destined to suffer the same fate as the other unfaithful, barred forever from entering into the Promised Land. Is their punishment because of their arrogance, implying that THEY brought the water out of the rock? It is their inability to do exactly what God asked? God says their lack of trust keeps them out. What is a true lack of trust?
  • What a way to end today’s readings – Numbers 21, the poisonous serpents among the people and the bronze serpent that keeps the alive. I’m out. That was too tough of a passage. I think that’s what I’ve learned most from this proposed 90 day adventure through the Bible. By reading it in such a shallow way, with such little discernment, no commentaries, and allowing my immediate reactions to guide my readings, I’m seeing things I didn’t before. I’m trying to read with a blank slate in front of me, hoping the passages will write the thoughts I need. I hope the Holy Spirit is with me…because I feel like I REALLY need it right now. This is a difficult journey. See you tomorrow, G—and K—.5973afde385d53fd3a7f01e903e2c18d

I’m An Absolute Failure At This – February 7 – Days 7-9 – Exodus 29-40, Leviticus 1-14, Leviticus 15-28

missed expectationsI’m An Absolute Failure At This –

February 7-9 – Days 7-9 – Exodus 29-40, Leviticus 1-14, Leviticus 15-28

It looks like I’m playing catch up for days 7-9. I’m a bit behind right now. Isn’t that the problem with doing this overly ambitious journey through the Bible? And then what do you do with that guilt? I’m pretty sure God doesn’t tell us to “read the whole Bible in this set amount of days.” In fact, there’s nothing even close to that in scripture, tradition, or divine revelation.

So why do I feel so terrible about not finishing when I’m told myself I would finish? What is it about these self-imposed deadlines that give me ulcers?

My colleague, friend, and brother in arms, Drew Filkins, told me to stop worrying about these opening paragraphs. He said, “People want to read the bulletin points. That’s what they scan down to find.”

I’ll admit, I do the same thing.

Still, I feel like I need to rationalize and explain my thoughts before I just list my quick hit, rapid fire reactions to the scripture. This is especially true for the end of Exodus and the book of Leviticus. Because, quite frankly, these books are ridiculously boring at times.

disappointmentMaybe boring is a bit sacrilegious.

How about, boring in the theologically exciting kind of a way?

I’m just not into the laws, genealogies, and building plans for tabernacles, arks, temples, and the like. I want to be. Really, I do! I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm necessary to get there.

What do we do with the passages encountered in this series of readings? How do you actualize, realize, and internalize dietary, sexual, and priestly laws?

G—and K— ? Any thoughts on this?

For those who scrolled down to the good stuff, here are my bullet points!

  • Exodus 29 – The ordination of priests here is VERY different from my own ordination. First, we had no ram, no bull (well, maybe a little bit) and no fat to offer from said ram. What did we have? Crying, Raymond Bonwell, Band of Brothers references, and a lot of people who “knew me when.”
  • Exodus 30 – Give half a shekel (or 10 gerahs) as an offering at the sanctuary. How does that compute today?
  • Exodus 30 – I love the smell of incense. I enjoy it in the house and in the sanctuary. However, we rarely burn incense in the congregation I serve. There is something to be said about worshiping with all our senses, even the sense of smell. We have hearing (music and spoken words), sight (visuals all over the place), touch (passing the peace, hand on a shoulder), and taste (communion) but not much with smell. Incense seems to meet that need. Just a thought…
  • Exodus 31 – Keep that Sabbath. Why is this so ridiculously hard for most of us to do? A day of not doing ANY work? That just sounds like a day after when I’ll be playing catch up. How could this resemble something else?
  • Exodus 32 – Aaron gives up the faith pretty easily. He starts on the golden path AS MOSES IS ON THE MOUNTAIN. What caused him to do so after all of these weeks of faith? After all the miraculous signs he saw? After serving as the spokesperson for God? Why would he bail out so easily?
  • Exodus 32 – At least Moses negotiates for the people. That’s something, right?
  • Exodus 32 – Aaron lets the people run wild? Worst babysitter ever.
  • Exodus 33:11 – GREAT, powerful line – Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
  • Exodus 34 – Start tearing down the “others’ “ idols, temples, and towers. Interesting…
  • Exodus 34 – Moses’ face is shining. When do we shine?
  • Exodus 35- 38 – Makin’ the ark. This is the rough stuff I have a trouble getting through.
  • The ending of Exodus? That’s kind of a letdown. I guess I had hoped for some more resolution.
  • Leviticus! We’re into another book! Wait, this book is about what now? Yea, I guess?!?!Leviticus Lego
  • Leviticus 1 – Kind of a short chapter. Unblemished offerings…what offerings do we make that are with flaws, conditions, and blemishes?
  • Leviticus 2-4- How do make an appropriate sacrificial offering is a very strange thing, indeed. I have absolutely no point of reference for these examples. What’s a good goat vs. a bad one? A What kind of wood to use for the fire? I just don’t sacrifice this way.
  • Sin offerings – you can’t help but think of atonement theories when you read this…if you’re a theology nerd who really likes studying atonement theories.
  • To be holy is to be set apart. Who, what, and when do we set things apart?
  • Leviticus 8 – More ordination stuff. Again, this is not what I remember from my ordination. As my friend Corey LeCureux used to say, “Ordination is just empty hands on empty heads.” I’m not that cynical but I’m closer to that than to appropriate turbans, bulls, breastplates, etc.
  • Leviticus 10 – I’d LOVE to hear some thoughts about this one. His sons burned up? What?!
  • Leviticus 11 – Insects are unclean. I can get behind this law.
  • Leviticus 12 – Let me get this straight…if I woman bears a son, she is unclean for seven days. If she has a daughter, she is unclean for two weeks and must spend sixty-six days of purification? I’m not sure how to comment appropriately.
  • Just read Leviticus 13:40-44…I want to preach on that just once before I retire. Just once, drop the mic, and walk out into the sunset with my bald head held high.
  • Leviticus 15 – And now we’re dealing with bodily discharges? Leave no stone unturned, I guess.
  • Leviticus 17 – I’m a big fan of black pudding when I’m in Scotland. I know, I know, it’s kinda gross when you really think about what it is, but it tastes delicious. I’m going to have to rethink it if I want to stick with this chapter.
  • Leviticus 18 – And now we’re into the sexual laws…more specifically, the laws about sexuality. This is one of the passages used by my sisters and brothers in Christ when discussing the merits of same-sex relationships. In context, I am comfortable recognizing how these types of relationships are different from the ones we are debating in our modern context. Still, this is a great place to start the discussion. Let’s talk about sex with an openness that the Bible does not shy away from. What is a relationship? A marriage? Physical love?Leviticus Haircuts
  • Leviticus 19:32 – Respect the elderly. Nicely put.
  • No Harry Potters in scripture? Leviticus 20:27
  • Leviticus is full of Levitical laws (laws for the priests). If you aren’t a priest, what do you think of these passages?
  • Leviticus 24:13-23 – Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth
  • The end of Leviticus? No better than the end of Exodus. I’m expecting big things, Numbers. Don’t let me down…

Is there an IKEA Tabernacle? – Day 6 – Feb. 6 – 90 Days through the Bible – Exodus 16-28

WAAAAAY More than the Just the 10 Commandments

Day 6 – Exodus 16-28

The 10 commandments? I get those. Laws about blood, animals, and a how to build a 50a73afaa57d9.preview-620tabernacle? Not so much.

We’re starting to get to the tough parts of the Torah and it will get more difficult before it gets easier. I’m not saying these aren’t important things to read, just that they are a bit drier than the narrative stuff we enjoyed in Genesis and early Exodus. I feel like the description of how to build the ark and tabernacle are meant for somebody other than me.

I’m not much of a builder. I’m not one of those guys you would call “handy.” My wife, Rachell, is the one who fixes, makes, and creates all the things in our home. She can swing a hammer, rip out a cabinet, and drywall anything that needs fixing. Me? I want simple, easy to manage instructions. I want the IKEA version of Exodus.

Could you picture that? Some guy scratching his head with all the parts of the tabernacle laid out in front of him?

Could you build an ark with just an allen wrench?

  • Exodus 16-18 have got to be my favorite chapters of the book. Hear me out – I don’t mind the stories about young Moses, the plagues, and the actual Passover. That’s great stuff as well. For me, the manna, water from the rock, and advice from Jethro are at the heart of the journey. This is a turning point for me that is full of lessons, thoughts, ideas, and concepts about humanity and God. In this, we see a God who provides, the greed of communities and individuals, the relationships we have with family, in-laws, and neighbors, and the miracles that astound us. Plus, we have lots of grumbling. Who can’t relate to that? We are a grumbling people and I don’t know if it’s a comfort or just a
  • Quail and manna? Yes, please. Sounds like a well balanced meal if I’ve ever heard it. I’d gladly have a bagel in the morning and some pheasant like dish at night. You wouldn’t hear me grumbling.
  • The first attack. From here on out, there will be a lot of fighting, warring, and destruction on the way to the promised land. This is part of my difficulty with Old Testament language, history, and story-telling. The pacifist in me struggles with the notion that in order for the chosen people to receive theirs, other non-chosen types must necessarily die. It’s so hard to balance these types of passages against the teachings of Jesus. In the meantime, we say a permanent good bye to Amalek.
  • Good advice from Jethro. Looks like Moses just needed an outsider to offer an assessment of the situation. I’m sure Moses already knew how hard it was to manage all the people but it seems like the situation had gotten out of control gradually and by the time Moses wanted to change it, it was too late. A fresh pair of eyes is always good for an organization.
  • Setting limits…I know there are reasons theologians have offered for the rules of consecration but at first glance they seem a bit arbitrary and difficult to comprehend. If I’m struggling, how do children understand the rules we offer for them? I don’t always (ever? j/k) explain to my children the rules because, well, sometimes I just don’t have the time, patience, of inclination. But I expect them to trust me and follow my leadership. This situation doesn’t always play out as smoothly as I’d like, believe it or not.
  • And here come the laws…It’s not that I don’t appreciate them. I just get so bogged down in the law that I have a hard time understanding grace, love, and hope in the midst of the (seemingly) minutia of regulations.
  • Chapter 21 of Exodus begins the idea of places/cities of sanctuary and refuge. What a curious and grace-filled idea. What is our modern equivalent?
  • Who follows these laws?!?! Wow, this is confusing and challenging.
  • Cut and dry verse that isn’t so cut and dry – Exodus 22:18, “You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live.” Glad we’ve got that cleared up.
  • On a more serious note, Exodus 22:21 warns against poorly treating immigrants in your land. We should make sure we remember these verses as closely as the easy ones that justify our already existing behavior. How we treat the foreigner in our land is a theological concept and says something about what we believe.
  • How to build an ark…something I’m not sure I’ll ever need to do, but fascinating info,02-assembly-layout nonetheless.
  • Priestly garments – again, wow. There is a ton of detail in this and I’m not sure I completely understand it all. G— and K—, I’d love to get your interpretations here. This is a tough stretch to read through. Power on, friends. You can do this.

“Devotional Guilt” Day 2 – 90 Days through the Bible – Genesis 18-28 – February 2

(Here’s the schedule if you’d like to read along! 90 Days in the Bible)

Day 2 of the 90 Days through the Bible

Genesis 18-28

First off, nicely done with the motivation email, G–. When you sent the message saying you were done with the first two days already? I was impressed and a little bit guilty for having not completed my day yet. Is that weird? Should we feel guilty about reading or not reading the Bible? I guess that’s a question for everyone. Guilt free bible reading

I remember as a teenager participating in a student led Bible study before school. It was my first exposure to the term “devotions.” One of the older students asked me, “Are you keeping up with your daily devotions?”

Naturally, I lied and said, “Of course I’m keeping up! Devotions? Sure, I’m doing them right now. I do them all day long. Am I keeping up?! You know I am!”

They were extremely well meaning youth and I learned a ton about my faith from and through them. However, I also learned a lot about Christian guilt, shame, and legalism. That was the first time I felt like less of a Christian than these friends. It really wasn’t their fault as much as mine. I couldn’t get past the idea that some people were more dedicated, more devoted, and more in tune with their faith than I was. I equated regular, ritualized Bible study with great amounts of faith. While they are connected from time to time, they are not mutually dependent upon one another and it took me a number of years to realize that fact.

Part of me is feeling a bit of that again as I start this 90 days through the Bible project. I applaud people who read the Bible regularly and I really want to…but I usually choose not to. I find other things to do. I fall into a rut. I get distracted. I do other very meaningful things and other very trivial things. The rhythm never really takes root in my life. And when it doesn’t, I can’t seem to let myself off the hook. I get down over not completing this self-appointed task, or self-appointed competition with my brothers and sisters in faith.

That’s not going to happen this time…I hope. K— and G—-, I am relying on you to keep me focused, honest, and easy going. This is meant to be an edifying, faith building experience and the act of doing it in community has got to help, not hurt.

With that said, here are my thoughts for this second day of reading.

  • Why is circumcision the physical characteristic to distinguish the Hebrew men from the otherwise unselected men of the biblical world? Seriously, circumcision? Wow. That is just…I mean…wow, that’s a tough one. I’ve taught on circumcision before as a theological distinction, usually related to the NT references to the practice as unnecessary for new believers in Jesus Christ. Rarely have I taught on this OT passage in a vacuum. Might be a good challenge?
  • My favorite exchange in all of Genesis happens between Sarah and the visitors from God.

Angel: Why did you laugh?

Sarah: I didn’t laugh.

Angel: Yes, you did laugh.

Sarah: (uncomfortable silence)

Do you like my hatThe passage always reminds me of the kids’ “Go, Dog Go!” book.

Dog 1: Do you like my hat?

Dog 2: I do not.

Dog 1: Good bye.

Dog 2: Good bye.

  • Lot offers up his daughters to the would be rapists? What a hero you are, Lot. At least we won’t discover this incident leaving a weird mark on your daughters. They’ll act perfectly normal and acceptable in the next chapters.
  • Abraham does it again, pretending his wife is his sister. He gives his wife to another king to save his own skin. I’m sure Sarah loves this whole situation. How must she have felt each time he pitched this idea to her?
  • And, like father, like son…Isaac pulls the same trick with his wife. That is a weird bit of family legacy to pass along.

Day 1 – 90 Days through the Bible – Genesis 1-17

Day 1 – 90 Days Through the Bible – Genesis 1-17

(Here’s the schedule if you’d like to read along! 90 Days in the Bible)

In the beginning, we read chapter 1…

I’ve had the desire to read the Bible in 90 days for the past few years, but I’ve never been able to buy into the task fully enough to complete it. This year’s going to be different…or, at least I hope it will be.

I had a conversation with a friend a couple weeks back and she talked about wanted to know the Bible better. It seemed like the perfect time to get into this project again. Accountability is going to make this work. I like knowing someone else is reading through with me, asking questions at the same pace and about the same chapters. More than that, I like knowing someone will ask me, “Hey Andrew, did you read today?”DustyBible_thumb

Motivated by guilt and shame is never a good thing but it certainly has the potential for producing the right outcome. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m reading along with G and K (I’ll use these references instead of their full names). Both are members of The Peoples Church but not individuals I have ever engaged in a study with before. We’ve all got kids around the same ages. We’re all are married. And we all live in the incredible mid-Michigan area that is home to Michigan State University, the state legislature, and all the wonders of the Greater Lansing Region.

Rather than post overly academic biblical interpretations and musings, I’m going to offer more easily digestible, quick notes on the passages I complete each day. Because there is so much reading required each day to complete this journey, the style of reading is very different from my normal study habits. I’m reading from a view that is much further away from the text, rather than a careful, deliberate examination of shorter passages. I’m trying to see the whole narrative, not just the individual passages.

In addition, these posts will be written as letters, comments, notes and questions to G and K (and anyone else who’d like to join us on this journey?). I’ll try to make specific references to the passages but will more than likely just offer paraphrased quotes related to the chapters of the day. You can generally pick out the passages I am referencing but if you have any specific questions about what I am questioning, noting, or observing, feel free to ask me to clarify.

With that said, here’s the first day’s comments!

Genesis 1 – 17

  • This is my first time reading through the Bible entirely from the New International Version (2011 edition). It reads a bit differently from other translations I typically use but still provides enough familiarity mixed in with colloquialisms to be intelligible to modern ears.
  • “In the beginning, God created…” Great beginning and ripe for theological interpretation. Seminary is coming back to my brain as I remember my first OT class taking an hour on this one line, this one phrase, this one groundbreaking idea. It still sticks with me.
  • A vault between the waters – that’s a new way to phrase it. I’ve never thought of that passage until reading it today with the word “vault.” Not sure what to make of that.
  • Do you have a favorite day of creation? I’m going with day 5. Definitely day 5.
  • What do we declare good and very good in our lives? Right now, sitting in a flannel shirt with the fire crackling in the background, drinking my coffee, listening to Phish in the background, my dog sleeping on my feet while I read Genesis? This is very good. Very, very good.
  • A man leaves his father and mother to be united to his wife because she was bone from his bones and flesh from his flesh? To be reunited is to be made whole.
  • Adam is such a wimp – “The woman you put here, she’s the one that gave me the fruit! It wasn’t my fault! It’s not my fault!”
  • Am I allowed to say, “Poor Cain?” I feel like he really was set up for disaster from the beginning.
  • Jabal, father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. Totally forgot about that verse and that name. I’m going to name my next dog/cat/child Jabal.
  • “The Lord regretted making humans” That’s a rough passage to read.
  • “Even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” Makes me want to go back and talk about inherent evil vs. inherent good. Are we really bad from the start and we choose to do good or are we good from the start and we choose to do bad?
  • All of these names rule.
  • First blessing of Abram includes the following:
    • 1 – I will make you a great nation,
    • 2 – I will bless you,
    • 3 – I will make your name great,
    • 4 – You will be a blessing,
    • 5 – I will bless those who bless you,
    • 6 – I will curse those who curse you,
    • 7 – all peoples on earth will be blessed through you
  • Abram hands his wife over to Pharaoh? What a jerk…At least he’ll never do this again, right? I mean, there’s no way you’d pretend your wife is your sister TWICE.
  • Melchizedek makes an appearance. His next reference is found in Hebrews, because, the Bible?
  • Understatement of the day -Hagar has it awfully rough