I’ve read this book, cover to cover – more than once. And I’ve concluded that The Holy Bible’s Psalms, Proverbs and the four Gospels bear the most toward my highest moral/spiritual aspirations. When burdened, I refer to these writings and they always serve some good. For whatever I need in the form of a command, an exhortation, inspiration, or an admonishment, it is rich and resourceful. I enjoy growing, changing and shaping myself into a person who knows the God of the Bible. I relish in opportunities to share its messages of hope with any one who will listen. Other portions, however – particularly the church ‘how-to’ letters of the New Testament and Leviticus’ guidelines for offerings and atonement stand upon views by which I don’t see the world. With most of its regard for women, I disagree.
Throughout the years, I observed at least one Bible in just about every home I visited. I have seen folks worship it as though it were God. I have known some to sleep with it under their pillows. I have met devout Christians who have never read the book in its entirety. They live life citing sparse scriptures during moments of crisis or in defense of their version of the Gospel. I have known passionate preachers who never read it in its entirety, leaving their delivery confusing at best. I have known haters of the Christian faith who have never read it in its entirety. For them, it is a source of torment to the soul. Both lovers and haters were handy at stringing quotes together to support falsehoods about Spirit and intent. With it, I have seen fierce wolves with agendas butcher the words and literally abuse the hearts of faithful followers. I have watched poor old ladies clutching to it – a relic of a troubled life’s journey – for dear life. I have taken part in and listened to debates over one or more of its teachings. I learned that disagreement over its one in a million interpretations compromises the unity it sets out to create.
The Holy Bible is one book.
And I am resolved that this book is an accumulation of words, phrases, proverbs, parables, quotes, misinterpreted and re-interpreted stories which were written and documented by men who are trying desperately to ‘see’ and ‘know’ a God in relationship to men. It is void of ‘other’ cultural perspectives and more than deficient on input and sought after perceptions of the empowered woman of color. Yet, for all it lacks of an extended human outlook, it gives a substantial route to Spirit for those who have access to nothing more. That’s valuable. And that will always be okay with me.