Your fist hard in their teeth!

So, just a few days into the Bible Challenge, I came across something interesting.

I bought two Bibles for this, one of which is The Message, a translation that I have long wanted to read. Seriously, years ago, (decades ago!), I came across a pamphlet that had just one of the gospels in this translation and it was totally intriguiging. That was the start I guess (apparently it took over ten years to write). Now I have the whole beautiful hard cover thing, numbered verses and all. I decided to make this my primary text for the year to give the challenge as much a chance as possible to be interesting, and thought that reading without footnotes will make it easier to stay on task.
Anyway, a verse in Psalm 3 reads:

Up, God! My God, help me!

Slap their faces,

First this cheek, then the other,

Your first hard in their teeth!

I was taken aback by the surprising violence, but then I had a vision of Gladiator, how I loved the vivid recreation of life in those days and generally tolerated the overlong movie

(how could I not?)

but was appalled and sickened by the more violent scenes. Because, duh, that was life back then. Back when the psalms were written (sung?) for sure, scratching out a living in the desert — most peoples lives were nasty, brutish, and short. Of course that God is a bad ass God!

Maybe he is a little something like this guy:

Not to be disrespectful.

So intrigued was I by this that I went to The New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version (the highly recommended text for the challenge) to see how they wrote the same verse:

Rise up, O Lord!

Deliver me, O my God!

For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;

you break the teeth of the wicked.

“Break the teeth of the wicked!” I’m impressed. My first happy surprise in the Bible. What this all means to me in a more spiritual sense I really couldn’t say.

——————

In other news, I attended a birth today and not to be to HIPPA-ish about it, it was lovely for many reasons — a second-time client, close by, quick labor, nice staff (except for the recovery nurse), beautiful healthy baby and a happy extended family. Makes you want to do it all the time! Took about four hours of my time, two hours actively. Well done! It was a delight to be there and experience the miracle again.

Challenge

So, the last couple months have been quite a challenge, what with the unexpected death of my dear old dad, a bunch of other stressful crap, and then being laid out with a bad back for 11 days ….

But I am on the mend! And tomorrow I undertake the real challenge, the Trinity Cathedral Bible Challenge, concocted by my close personal friend — the very cool, smart and charismatic Very Reverend Tracey Lind.
It goes for a year. We read the Bible in one year. As an on-again, off-again Christian I have often attempted to read the Bible but must confess it has almost always left me cold. I have long felt bad about this and have decided that if I am going to call myself a Christian and enjoy all the good stuff about church, I am just a poser if I don’t actually read the darn thing cover to cover.

I am also interested in this as a scholarly pursuit, before my brain dries up and blows away.

I could say more but getting used to this WordPress interface after over a year is taking longer than I’d like.

Because I have to go to bed! My plan is get up at 7:00 and use the time until 7:30 to drink coffee and do my reading. I should probably say I will do this every day for the next year, but really it is quite enough that I am publishing this as an intent for one day. Wish me luck!