Serendipity in Bible Reading

Last night I discovered a flow from one place to another, and then to a third, in the Bible that I’ve never noticed before. First, I’ll explain what I’ve been doing in my reading lately, since that has to do with how this was discovered.

Sometimes, like last year, I read through the Bible in a year, following a reading plan. On Saturday evening I would also read the chapter that our pastor would be preaching from the next day. He preaches straight through books, so it makes it easy to know where he’s going. I haven’t been reading by a plan this year. I’ve been reading a chapter of Proverbs each night that corresponds to whatever date is on the calendar. You can read the whole book 12 times through the year that way, only missing the last chapter a few times, unless you just tack it on when you come to the 30th day of the month. (I got that idea from a pastor years ago.)

I’ve also been reading the section that our pastor covered two weeks back, the one he preached from the past Sunday and the one where he will be on the coming Sunday. I read those in rotation, one chapter or section a night, starting with the one to come on Sunday evening. The way this works out has me reading through those three sections twice in the week, ending (for its third reading) with the part he will preach from the next day. This helps me keep things in mind that he has said in his sermons and helps me learn the books better.

Along with these two things, I read from another book, or section of a book. I read just sort of wherever I feel like reading, or I go to a subject that has been on my mind. A few weeks ago I started reading Romans. When I came to chapter 8 I just hung out there for several nights and kept reading it over and over. Then a few nights ago I saw Isaiah 53 when I was turning pages going from one place to another, and I stopped and read it. Two nights ago I read Isaiah 53 then went to Romans 8. That was pretty cool. But last night, seeing how Isaiah 53 ends and also seeing a note I had written in the margin, “John 17,” I decided to read that chapter then go to Romans. That’s when I saw an interesting progression and flow from Isaiah 53, to John 17, and then to Romans 8. Oh, man, I think I’ll hang out on this one for a while!

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People Say “They all read the same book”

I am up early this morning and have slept only about four hours because I am astonished and frightened by the hatred I saw expressed in comments yesterday on Facebook regarding a news item. The link to the story said, “What should Texas students learn about Islam” and some of the reactions to that were awful. The Texas State Board of Education issued a resolution regarding Islam in textbooks. They said there are some history textbooks that devote more copy to Islam than to Christianity. The article didn’t say what was said about each religion. In comments some people said nothing should be taught about Islam and some said if anything was they would take their children out of public schools. People said Islam is a cult and not a religion and some even think all Muslims ought to be wiped out. People called each other names and yelled at one another over this. (In case you don’t know, to use all caps is yelling.) The article said none of the textbooks mentioned in the resolution are being used in Texas schools.

I find it odd that when I get into discussions over religious freedom and the lines are drawn, standing next to me so to speak, are a few Christians and a lot of agnostics, atheists and pagans. Across the line yelling at us and participating in the name-calling are a bunch of Christians.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father except through me.” I believe this with all my heart. Having said that just to be clear, here are some of the things I’ve noticed.

People say, “They all read the same book.” Yes, Muslims all read the Koran. Christians all read the same Bible, too. And some wear white sheets with pointy hats and hate people who have a darker skin than they have or who follow a different religion. Some vote not to allow the sale of alcohol in their cities so that if they think it’s wrong to drink the stuff, no one else should be allowed to either. Some don’t believe it’s a sin for a man and a man or a woman and a woman to act like they are married to each other. I don’t agree with any of this and I am a Christian. We all read the same book.

This hatred toward Muslims reminds me of how it was in Germany before WWII, except the Jews were the ones who supposedly were going to destroy the country. I think some people don’t really look at history and current events with their eyes open. Can’t people see that the people in power who want more power create an enemy of the state and drum up hatred against that group? This is what happened to the Christians in the early days of Christianity in Rome. And if folks think that our military is willing to give their lives for only Christians to have First Amendment rights, they don’t understand the Constitution they claim we ought to follow. Some act as if every country doesn’t have Christianity as its civil religion, then God’s Kingdom is going to suffer. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – God’s Kingdom does not have political boundaries, it doesn’t have a flag and I’ll add that it’s not cultural. Talking about God and praying in public doesn’t make one a Christian. It only means we have the freedom to do such things.

My husband said that sometimes ignorance prevails, and as an example he pointed out what happened to Jesus. I sure hope ignorance doesn’t prevail in our country over the issue of religious freedom. Would you hide a Muslim in your attic?

Update on What I’m Doing With Archives

I’m now adding things to my November 2007 archives. I wrote about a variety of things beginning with questions about morality laws, as I was in the process of examining my political and spiritual views. (Check writings beginning in September of 2007 to follow the progression.) Every now and then some catalyst comes along – this one was the way the republicans used Christians for votes and then laughed at us behind our backs – that causes a person to reexamine what they believe and why.