Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Blog of Biblical Proportions

Let's face it: The Bible is a daunting text. Thousands of years old. Countless languages and translations. In-depth scholarly investigation. As many interpretations as there are readers. And one massive, overwhelming, mysterious, confusing, powerful, inexplicable God.

It's enough to make me not read it. (Oh wait. I don't. Hmm.)

Now we can thank David Plotz for approaching the material with a self-described 'lazy but faithful' eye at Slate.com's Blogging the Bible.

Basically, Plotz's entries tackle each book of the Bible in succession, and put into plain English what he thinks each one means. Some might read this and think it spiritually illiterate, but I find it honest, raw, and frankly, funny as hell. (I mean ... heck. Sorry Bible.) Just take his latest entry on The Book of 2 Samuel. Who else would describe Joab as an early Donald Rumsfeld?

But it's not all snarky comments and anachronistic comparisons, and that's what ultimately makes this blog project stick. Plotz asks some really hard and heartfelt questions about the confusing and contradictory elements that emerge in Biblical stories. And he opens it up to the worldwide audience for theories, explanations, and discussion.

At its heart, Blogging the Bible provides what many Bible studies purport to offer, yet do not: a welcoming forum, open expression, and the freedom to doubt and question. In my own experiences with Bible study, both Catholic and Protestant, I have acutely felt the lack of that last freedom. I don't understand the often angry and vengeful God of the Old Testament. I don't agree with the Bible's writings on homosexuality. And I don't take the story of Genesis literally.

These, among other viewpoints, have frequently put me at odds with many of my faithful peers, but I never could quite believe I was an exception. In fact, I think I'm closer to the rule. Blogging the Bible renews my belief in allowing people to question and accept at their own pace, and the power that doubt wields in forging a more perfect faith.

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