I was off line when this started, but Slate.com’s David Plotz has a running series of posts about reading the bible which you may want to check out. Mr. Plotz is Jewish, but not particularly observant and like many people, Jewish and Christian, had never really read the bible beyond what was covered in religious education classes or referred to in pop culture, sermons and such. This May he set out to actually read the Torah from the beginning without the use of commentaries and such. He wanted to read the book with fresh eyes and share what he read with us. The result is a fascinating series of posts and descriptions which should force the reader from his/her complacency about the bible and the God we serve. I think too often we read the bible in a stupor. God says and does bewildering things and we act as if the text said nothing more challenging than “God is love and wants you to be rich”. We dumbly nod and keep right on going. Or if we do notice, we write it off as God’s perogative and move on quickly before we have the chance to think unacceptable thoughts about God. Or we come up with elaborate explanations to make God’s actions more acceptable on human terms. (“God did a good thing by sending those bears to kill the boys teasing His prophet for being bald – they were really a dangerous pack of thugs who had probably been terrorizing the community” as if we would accept such logic if it were our own teenaged boys and their friends teasing the village crazy person on a boring afternoon.) A couple of years ago, I actually undertook something similar to what Mr. Plotz is doing here myself. Although I had read through the whole Old Testament once before, this time I deliberately sought to block out what I had been taught and thought I already knew and look at the text for what it was. In the end if forced me to turn to God and ask, “what in the blazes was that all about?” His answer changed me, my understanding of God and my whole Christian walk. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic. So, if you’re in the mood for an eye-opening look at scriptures, grab a cup of coffee and take a peek at Mr. Plotz’s account of his trip through the old testament. I think it’ll be worth your while.