From the Scribe – 21 July 2014:
Welcome to DOR Scribe, a blog about reading the Bible.
The focus here is on the real Good News* – the positive aspects of the Bible – and especially the Three Great Promises of Jesus. For more on those promises, click the links above.
In the meantime:
As noted in About the DOR Scribe above, “DOR” stands for Daily Office Reading, which is where the “DOR” in “Dorscribe” comes from. So on that note: The Daily Office readings for Sunday, July 20, 2014, included the morning (“AM”) Psalm 63:1-8(9-11), 98; and the evening “PM” Psalm 103. The other readings are Joshua 6:15-27; Acts 22:30-23:11; Mark 2:1-12.
Acts 22 told the story of Paul on trial before the Sanhedrin, at which time he recalled the Biblical directive, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.”
That story was covered in On dissin’ the Prez, which brought up this problem:
. . . conservative Christians who think the Bible must be interpreted literally. As the International Bible Commentary noted, “Paul’s stern rebuke was contrary to the letter of Exod. 22:28, and he at once admitted it. The president [i.e., the high priest Ananias] was a criminal, but the ‘seat’ was sacred.” (Emphasis added.) And Exodus 22:28 says, in the New Revised Standard Bible, “You shall not revile God, or curse a leader of your people.” (E.A.)
In other words, conservative Christians who think the Bible must be taken literally should be the ones defending the President most ardently, or at least not “disrespecting” him. (Whoever he is.) But lately that directive seems “more honored in the breach.”
Of course there is a way to get around that Biblical command, but it would require a liberal interpretation of the Bible. That’s where the “Oh the irony” image comes in.
Psalm 63 was also covered by a prior post, On “Patton,” Sunday School teacher. The post noted the movie about the general, starring George C. Scott:
Patton was at a low point in his career during World War II, after the “slapping incident” in Sicily. He was almost sent home in disgrace, but he found comfort in Psalm 63. . . The film showed Patton praying, then going out to apologize to the troops. As he went, he recited Psalm 63, “humble and defiant.” As abbreviated . . . the psalm went like this: “O God, Thou art my God, early will I seek Thee. My soul thirsteth for Thee… But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword, they shall be a portion for foxes… Everyone that sweareth by Him shall glory. But the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.”
Also on the note of irony, the post pointed out that aside from believing in reincarnation, Patton read the Bible on a daily basis. For example, during a tour of his private quarters an Army chaplain noted a Bible on a desk. Later “the chaplain asked if Patton actually had time to read that Bible. Patton said, ‘I sure do. Every Goddamn day.’”
How can we do greater works than Jesus if we interpret the Bible in a cramped, narrow, strict and/or limiting manner? For that matter, why does the Bible so often tell us to “sing to the Lord a new song?” (For example, Isaiah 42:10 and Psalms 96:1, 98:1, and 144:9.)
Isaiah 42:10 says, “Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth!” Psalm 96 and 98 say pretty much the same thing, while Psalm 144:9 adds, “I will sing you a new song, O God, with a ten-stringed harp.” (The Revised Standard and Living Bible versions, emphasis added.) As to Psalm 144:9, if taken literally it seems to be a direct command that you can only sing a new song to God using a ten-stringed harp. (Which would seem to be an absurd result, contrary to the intent of the person who drafted the directive.)
On the other hand, if interpreted metaphorically Psalm 144:9 could indicate that while God wants you to sing a new song to Him now, your best “song” will result from your unique experiences, as shaped and arranged according to lessons learned from other people who have sung songs that were new then, back when the Bible was originally written. (Hmmmm.)
Okay, this is going to take a whole lot more thought. . .
The “irony” image is courtesy of: http://kara.allthingsd.com/files/2011/03/irony3.jpeg.
As always, you can see the full readings at The Lectionary – Satucket.com.
As to “guilt trips,” see The Psychology and Management of Guilt Trips | Psychology Today: “Guilt trips are a form of verbal or nonverbal communication in which a guilt inducer tries to induce guilty feelings in a target in an effort to control their behavior.” It also refers to a 2012 movie, The Guilt Trip (film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
As to “more honored in the breach.” See e.g. Mangled Shakespeare – NYTimes.com, and/or More honoured in the breach than in the observance.
And a BTW: You can actually get a ten-stringed harp, as for example from Jubilee Harps, Inc. — 10–String Harps — Kinnor of King David.
The “Thinker” image is courtesy of http://foliovision.com/images/2012/10/Rodin-the-Thinker.jpg. “The Thinker (French: Le Penseur) is a bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin . . . a nude male figure of over life-size sitting on a rock with his chin resting on one hand as though deep in thought, and is often used as an image to represent philosophy. There are about 28 full size castings. . . Originally named The Poet (French: Le Poète), the Thinker was initially a figure in a large commission, begun in 1880, for a doorway surround called The Gates of Hell.” See The Thinker – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.