Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bible Meme

I wasn't tagged, but I saw this over at Luther Punk and liked it so I tagged myself.

1. What translation of the Bible do you like best?

I like the NRSV, though I do have complaints about it. In particular, I think the way it makes singular subjects plural in the psalms in order to remove gender-specific language robs the psalms of their Christological potential (context be damned, it's a dominant idea in Church tradition!).

Even so, I think the NRSV reads better than the alternatives.

2. Old or New Testament?

There are parts I love in both and parts I don't like in both. I guess if I had to say which is my favorite, it would be the New Testament. The gospels have it.

3. Favorite Book of the Bible?

Genesis. I sometimes wonder if the theological shadow Genesis casts over the rest of the Bible is justified, but when I read Genesis the sheer power of its stories compels me to think it couldn't be otherwise. Religious implications aside, I believe Genesis is one of the greatest literary achievements in human history.

4. Favorite Chapter?

I really like the story of Jacob wrestling. What is that? Genesis 38? No, 32.

5. Favorite Verse? (feel free to explain yourself if you have to)

Revelation 21:5 -- The one seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new."

This is the anchor of my faith. I don't always know what to think about life after death. I don't understand the Atonement. What I cling to is that God (whoever God is) is making all things new. My understanding of all other articles of faith revolves around this.

6. Bible character you think you’re most like?

My namesake, Andrew. Andrew is like a shadow, but not quite. He's right at the fringe of the "Big 3" disciples, but isn't quite on the inside. I try to imagine the Transiguration from Andrew's perspective -- Peter, John and James go up the mountainside with Jesus. They come back all glassy-eyed and can't explain what they saw. So Andrew experiences this great faith moment the way most of us experience faith -- he doesn't quite see.

7. One thing from the Bible that confuses you?

Only one?

If I could get God to give me an understanding of one, and only one, thing in the Bible, I think it would be this: Why was the Tree of Knowledge and Evil in the garden in the first place? I think if I really understood that I could work out most of the rest.

8. Moses or Paul?

I don't know if I'd want to hang out with either one of them. Moses has always got the weight of the world on his shoulders and isn't afraid to let you know it. Paul, on the other hand, tends to be really abrasive, especially if you don't agree with him, and I don't always. But I'm a little freaked out by people whose faces literally shine from having been in the presence of God, so I guess I'd have to go with Paul.

9. A teaching from the Bible that you struggle with or don’t get?

Only one?

I guess I'd have to go with the big one -- final judgment. What's that about anyway? I mean, I get that things can't be left the way they are, and I get that some people won't appreciate things being put right, but it seems pretty clear that the Bible (especially the New Testament) wants to push it further than that. I just don't know what to make of it.

10. Coolest name in the Bible?

Israel. Human nature is to want to call the people of God "the golden shining stars" or something like that, but the Bible calls them "struggles with God." How cool is that?