My first response to this FF5 is, “I’m Episcopalian, we don’t know the Bible…” but that is not really true. The Bible shapes and forms our Book of Common Prayer. We read three scripture passages and a Psalm every time we worship, on Sunday morning and we pray the Daily Office (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline). So. We know the Bible. Although I have never memorized parts of I have internalized a lot of it. So, now, onto answering the questions…
1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text? When I was a child my family and I would gather every Christmas eve and read the birth narrative in Luke. We’d bring out our nativity set and “re-enact” the story. When I was old enough to read I loved to be the “narrartor.”
2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes). I really enjoy The Message. I use this version for our Holy Week readings, from Passion/Palm Sunday through the Great Vigil. This version is so dramatic. The language is close to what we use everyday which makes the experience of Holy Week feel like it is in present time. I love that Peterson has made such an effort to go for the spirit of the verses not a word for word interpretation. I also like the RSVP because, well, that’s what we use and the one I am most familiar with. Sometimes I like the KJV, but rarely will I use that any more.
3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage? I love the Gospel of John and the entire section we read during Lent in Year A. This section moves us through the raising of Lazarus, the questionin of Nicodemus,and the adocity of the Woman at the Well. These are powerful stories for me and I love to reflect and preach on them.
4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther’s famous words about James, to be “an epistle of straw?” Which verse(s) make you want to scream? Oh gosh, the verses in the Psalm about God crushing babies heads on rocks, the stories of God destroying the enemy of Israel in Joshua and Kings, for example. No, I don’t need to just hear stories about a warm and fuzzy God. I like that our scriptures challenge us to “Love God, Love Self, Love Neighbor.” I think that if we really strive to do this love-thing we find that it is HARD and anything BUT warm and fuzzy.
5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral? Absolutely for. But I am also for striving to use poetic language. Some inclusive language sources are dry and abrupt, “God be with you.” I still want the language to flow like poetry or prose.
Bonus: Back to the Psalms–which one best speaks the prayer of your heart? Psalm 121 “I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where is my help to come?” and Psalm 104:26-27 “Yonder is the great wide sea with its living things to many to number, creatures both small and great. There move the ships, and there is that Leviathan, which you have made for the sport of it.” I just chuckle every time I read it – “which you have made for the sport of it…” I