31 December 2011

Resolutions, Part 2

I just wanted to share here a follow-up to last year's post about New Year's resolutions.  Last year I said that, although I'm not much of one for New Year's resolutions, I would be trying for the third time to read through the Bible in one year.

Well, I did it!  I'm super proud of myself.  How many of us know the guilt of going however many years as a Christian without having read the whole Bible?  I think I started having that guilt when I was about 12.  (Although to be fair, I was attending an Evangelical Christian school at that time...)  I'm glad to have that behind me, and I look forward to many re-readings in the future.  Although not in 2012.  I need a breather.  I think instead I'll try to get through the Apocrypha and a book about how the Protestant canon came to be.

[I looked a little like this sometimes...]

I guess I wanted to mention two things here.  One is the manner in which I finally accomplished my goal.  Since my daily Bible reading was coming to my Google Reader via an RSS feed, I decided that my rule would be that I couldn't read any posts in my Reader before I read the Bible reading for the day.  This gave me some leeway (I could go several days without doing my reading if I needed/wanted to), but also some urgency to get the readings done eventually (I didn't want to get too far behind on my favorite blogs!).  It was the perfect mixture and the perfect motivator.  I think the furthest behind I ever got was 5 days and 300+ blog posts, but I eventually caught back up.  So, I'm not saying that method will necessarily work for everyone -- it's definitely one suited to my particular personality and interests.  But I am saying that you should keep trying to reach your goals using different methods and incentives until you eventually get there.  Never stop starting!

I guess I also wanted to share a bit about what reading the whole Bible has meant to me and some of my thoughts about it.  I'm certainly not going to write a book review on the whole thing or anything!  And a year is a long time to hold anything in one's head, but I had some general impressions as I read:
1.) I was often surprised to read what it actually said, without all the commentary and preconceptions and opinions swirling around the text.  A lot of the time I found it to be a lot more straightforward than people act like it is.
2.) ....and other times I had to admit that I had no idea what was going on.  None.  Now, I'm a mystic (as defined by my husband on his blog -- check the link), so I'm more okay with that than some others would be.  But people have opinions and commentary and preconceptions about those parts too, which also surprises me, since the text is so seemingly inscrutable.
3.) ...so as a result, yeah, I think I'm more liberal than I was at the beginning of the year. That's a weird sentence to type.  But honestly, I think that's partly due to the fact that I've also been reading Rachel Held Evans's blog all year, and...
4.) ...the most specific observation I had about the Bible was... ::drumroll:: .... Yahweh was upset at Israel because they were cruel and unfair to orphans, widows, immigrants, and poor people.  That seems to be His most common indictment against them.  Second would probably be engaging in religious sex rituals.  But, yeah.  Dang.  That observation really got to me.  How often do I think of treating poor people with kindness and justice as even in the top 10 of things I should work on in my spiritual life?

So anyway, there ya go.  Bible read.  Goal achieved.  Marathon finished.  I win!

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