a scribe’s scratchings: a log (3)

SCRIBES: Persons who can read and write. (Kim Paffenroth; Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible)

Not everyone can, you know.

As in, never could. Or, once could, but can’t now. Or, can do one, but not the other.

I am privileged, for I can do both.

And if I make use of that privilege, how will I use it?

Like everything else in my life and what I want my life to be about, I pray: to draw closer to God.

And that is the main reason I’ve decided to copy the entire Bible by hand.

links to 4 items worth your time

1. God, Creation, and Cancer: Wrestling With the Difficult Questions [required reading]

“… cancer is not evil. At least, not any more evil than the weather, with its potential for deadly blizzards and hurricanes. I see cancer as a messy, ugly, yet necessary byproduct of the ever-changing planet we find ourselves inhabiting. … That the very blueprints for life — that is, DNA — can and do change, and rather often, makes me immensely grateful to God for having the audacity to create this universe as he did. We live in a world not ruled by an iron fist, but guided by a gentle whisper.”

2. So What is a Good Parent to Do? by Jim Martin

“A few suggestions …”

3. Top 10 Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2018

“Some of the artifacts were made in previous years, but only announced in 2018.”

4. True Story

“For Christians the world is a different kind of mystery, one crackling with possibility and saturated with God’s goodness.”

a scribe’s scratchings: a log (2)

Jesus: Every scribe and teacher of the law who has become a student of the ways of the Kingdom is like the head of the household who brings some new things and some old things, both out of the storeroom.” (Matthew 13.52 The Voice)

As I prepare to copy the Bible in my own handwriting, the question arises as to what, exactly, will I copy? I speak and write only English, so what Bible translation(s) shall I use?

After much thought, I’ve decided that instead of copying only a single version of Scripture, my approach will be eclectic; I’ll copy different portions of Scripture from different translations.

Now over the course of the first half of this year our church-wide reading project (Immerse) – with which this writing project of mine is connected – is focused entirely on the New Testament. The Immerse plan has us read the New Testament in the following order: Luke-Acts, Paul’s letters, writings associated with Peter, material addressed primarily to Hebrew Christians, and then last of all, writings connected to John, the book of Revelation being the last.

And so, in my copy work – at least as I see it right now; my mind is susceptible to change – I’ll write out by hand:

  • Luke-Acts – in Today’s New International Version (TNIV)
  • Paul’s letters – in the New Testament for Everyone (NTE; N.T. Wright)
  • writings associated with Peter – in the Revised English Bible (REB)
  • Hebrew Christian material – in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
  • John’s Gospel – in the Common English Bible (CEB)
  • John’s letters – in the New Century Version (NCV)
  • Revelation – in the New Living Translation (NLT)

As for the Old Testament, I’ll determine which translations I’ll make use of then whenever I come to that bridge.

a scribe’s scratchings: a log (1)

Resolved: As the church family of which I am a part reads through the Bible  over the course of the next three years – a project named Immerse, that starts on Sun., Jan. 20, and follows this plan – I will read, and copy by hand, the entire Bible during that same period of time.

Resolved: I will briefly share on a regular basis, via this blog, some of my experiences in this effort.

They will commit themselves to rise early, to seek the Lord who made them, and to pray to the Most High. They will open their mouth in prayer and ask forgiveness for their sins. If the great Lord is willing, they will be filled with a spirit of understanding; they will pour forth words of wisdom, and they will give thanks to the Lord in prayer. Their reasoning and knowledge will remain on course, and they will ponder God’s mysteries. They will bring to light the learning of their instruction, and they will make the laws of the Lord’s covenant their boast. (Sirach 39.5-8 CEB)

links to 4 items worth your time

1. The History of the Bible, Animated [4 min. video; National Geographic]

“… making the Bible available to the masses …”

2. ‘This Little Light of Mine’ Shines On, a Timeless Tool of Resistance

“You can’t just sing ‘This Little Light of Mine.’ You gotta shout it …”

3. The Gospel Work of Song

“Singing is part of what it means to be human.”

4. The Decline of American Christianity Is Real but More Complicated Than It Looks

“… this so-called decline is a bit more complicated than it might seem at first blush …”

links to 10 items worth your time

1. 18 striking findings from 2018

“Pew Research Center takes the pulse of Americans and people around the world on a host of issues every year. We explore public opinion on topics ranging from foreign policy to cyberbullying, as well as demographic trends, such as the emergence of the post-Millennial generation and changes in the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Here are 18 of this year’s standout findings, taken from our analyses over the past year.”

2. What Happened When Dick’s Stared Down the Gun Lobby

“How can you truly be part of the conversation if you’ll only speak on your own terms?”

3. How to Fix the Apathy Problems in Schools [required reading]

“… this way of thinking has shifted the responsibility of learning, and of caring about learning, from the student to the teacher. Because it isn’t just administrators and parents who believe that it is a teacher’s job to make learning fun. Kids believe it, too.”

4. Generation – Not Millennials – is Changing the Nature of Work

“… Gen X is ‘America’s neglected ‘middle child’ …”

5. A bunch of millennials explained in a survey why they despise phone calls

“It’s simple: if you text or email someone, they can respond on their time. But if you call someone, they need to respond right now on your time. It’s just inconsiderate.”

6. Worry over kids’ excessive smartphone use is more justified than ever before

“New research funded by the National Institutes of Health found … lower cognitive skills among those using screens more than two hours a day.”

7. Email security best practices your team should be following right now

“The single biggest threat to your business’s online security is malicious emails.”

8. Facebook’s Data Sharing: 5 Takeaways From Our Investigation [required reading]

“… an investigation by The New York Times, based on hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents and interviews with about 50 former employees of Facebook and its partners, reveals that the marketplace for that data is even bigger than many consumers suspected. And Facebook, which collects more information on more people than almost any other private corporation in history, is a central player. Here are five takeaways from our investigation.”

9. Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It

“Our richest experiences will come not from treating print and audio interchangeably, but from understanding the differences between them and figuring out how to use them to our advantage — all in the service of hearing what writers are actually trying to tell us.”

10. A lawyer who represents cruise ship workers reveals the hardest job on a cruise ship

“Utility galley workers often work 12-14 hours per day, seven days per week for just $500-$700 per month … In some cases, they’re not able to take scheduled breaks, but are later required by their supervisors to change their timesheets to make it appear as if they took the breaks.”

links to 10 items worth your time

1. The Humble Origins of ‘Silent Night’ [required reading]

“One of the world’s most famous Christmas carols, ‘Silent Night,’ celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.”

2. Christians Sing Together

“From the very beginning of the church singing was important to the fellowship. Though many have unbounded confidence in their theories of what happened in local church gatherings, it is wiser to say ‘we don’t know precisely what happened, but we do are pretty sure about some things.’ One of the elements we are sure of is singing.”

3. The Strange Journey of Christian Rock and Roll

“… Christian rock has had a strange and circuitous journey back to the center of American culture.”

4. Compliments and Criticism – The Difference May Surprise You

“… in the end, only God changes people.”

5. Our Obsession with Imitating the Early Church and Another Way Forward

“… the early church wasn’t trying to be the early church. They were trying to be Jesus.”

6. A Tale of Two Mennonite Pastors and How to Disagree

“Theological (or political) disagreements matter, but need not be toxic to relationships. There are stronger ties that bind us together. … how George II and Ruth chose to relate to each other still proves instructive. As we spend this holiday season among family and friends with whom we might disagree, it’s helpful to remember that, though we maintain legitimate differences, there are things that matter more.”

7. A Different Kind of Christmas Story (for Kids)

“The book is entitled, ‘The Third Gift,’ by Linda Sue Park (Boston: Clarion, 2011).”

8. Church is Hard

“I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.”

9. Max Lucado Reveals Past Sexual Abuse at Evangelical #MeToo Summit

“Now is the time for across-the-coffee-table conversations that begin with the words, ‘Help me to understand what it’s like to be a female in this day and age,’ he said. ‘Help me to understand what it’s like to never go on a jog without carrying a canister of mace. Help me to know what it’s like to overhear guys chuckling about weight or bust size. Help me to understand what it’s like to always be outnumbered in the boardroom. Help me to understand what it’s like to be hugged chest to chest, unable to break free. Help me to understand what it’s like to fear filing a workplace complaint because my supervisors are all male. Help me to understand what it’s like to be the brunt of catcalls, whistles, and dirty jokes. Help me to understand.’”

10. Christianity Today’s 2019 Book Awards

“During book awards season, at least, the answer to ‘Do I need more books?’ is always yes. That applies whether you’re someone who likes to read a reasonable amount — or someone who also likes to read a reasonable amount, but more.”