H and I had to drive to Michigan yesterday. It’s a thirteen hour drive, on a good day. And H? Well, he’s good for ten straight hours on the road. After that, things begin to fall apart. He’s the first to admit it. No amount of blue skies, disco music, or sunflower seeds can stop the cabin fever from setting in.
So, with our destination just a few curves in the road ahead of us, we suddenly have to start making stops. Rest stops. Pit stops. Food stops. Stretching stops. Stop stops. And, before you know it, we’ve tacked three hours on to the end of the drive. Even Santana was rolling her eyes at us from her spot in the cargo hold at the back of the Subaru.
After all these years, I’m used to the unraveling. But still…
Yesterday, at about hour ten and a half, I took video of H singing and dancing to the gospel music of Bishop Noel Jones blasting through the speakers. I’d share the video with you, but I’ve been forbidden.
Before we hit the ten hour mark, H and I had been listening to the New Testament on CD. For hours (which I admit may have contributed a small portion to H’s undoing yesterday). Honestly, it was fascinating. For the past few months, H has had the CD playing in his car. So, when I drive to the grocery store, or to the post office, I get a few snippets of the gospels, or maybe one of the epistles. It’s been good and everything, but it’s also been a lot like my morning bible reading.
In the mornings, I get a cup of coffee, and settle down to read a bit in the bible. The truth is, it often seems disjointed to me. I mean, I understand the overall gist, but it doesn’t always seem to fit together, if that makes sense. So, say I read the first chapter of Romans on Monday. When I open the book again on Tuesday, I usually have to go back and reread the first chapter in order to make sense of the second chapter. By Wednesday, I just don’t feel up to reading two chapters in order to make sense of the third so, I flip over to a Psalm to see if anything in there jumps out at me for the day. On Thursday, I remember I was trying to make my way through Romans, but I have no idea where I left off, so I start all over again with chapter one. And by Friday, I just chalk everything up to the fact that the weekend has begun. I am SURE there’s a better way. Something more intentional. Something more for detail-oriented people (which, we’ve established, I am not).
Here’s the thing: I know I can struggle with reading the bible and then leave frustrated, wishing God had wired me to be more analytical and systematic. But, that’s not the way God wired me. God wired me with a love of words, and an unquenchable love of story, a vivid imagination, and a preference for the dramatic. So, yesterday — listening to the gospels of Luke and John, and the letter to the Romans, as we drove east on I-80 — my goodness! And, wow! What a difference! I kept looking over at H, saying stuff like, “Did you know that?!?!” and “So THAT’S what that means!!!!” and “You’re kidding me!!!!” and “That’s incredible!!!!” and “Can you even IMAGINE that?!?!?!”
(OK, maybe there’s a legitimate reason for H falling apart at the ten hour mark.)
I mentioned the CD on Facebook, and Diana Trautwein (aka Internet Pastor) responded with this: “This is how it was meant to be absorbed – read aloud and heard, most especially all of the epistles.” Yes! The bible was written (and I know you already know this) before the Gutenberg press, before the internet, before microfiche (remember that?). Its gospels and songs and letters and stories were shared in one sitting, with everyone sitting around listening, as one person shared aloud.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. But I’ve got a feeling more of us could benefit from a good, long, sit-down of the storytelling kind.
And you? What bible study methods have you discovered that make the words come alive?