Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29, 2010

I haven't posted about my one thousand day program in a while, and I don't think I've posted about it on this blog at all. A year and a half ago, on my other blog, I made this post:

What happens on June 29, 2010? Its the thousandth day from now (including today, October 4, 2007). For a while now I have felt a growing dissatisfaction with my spiritual status quo. I don't know what it is exactly -- if I did I'd address it -- so I am giving myself a period of time to figure out what it is and what to do about it. I didn't want it to be a short time -- this is serious -- but I didn't know how long. After some consideration I decided on one thousand days. More than two and a half years. If I can't at least get a handle on it by then, I haven't been trying.
(Yes, I think my calculations were off by a couple of days.)

The time since has not exactly flown by, but while I've waited for the spiritual penny to drop there has been more progress in many areas of my spiritual walk than it often feels like. I have developed the habit of early morning prayer, getting up most mornings and starting my day with a half hour of prayer. I have read my Bible through from cover to cover from the first time in years, and I went on a three day (72 hour) fast, something I've only done once before. That was when I was a new Christian. When you're just starting out, its easy to push yourself to new levels, but over the years you start to settle. It would be nice to believe that you have simply done all the easy levels and that things have slowed because you're working from a 'higher' level, but that's not really true. And its not just me. I've noticed this in others.

There are other things to be happy about, but right now I am enjoying the prospect of shaking off the dross and rekindling things. In my second year in the Lord a lot of things happened to me and I made some decisions that would bear consequences down to the present day. Yesterday I was thinking about today and the next year, and it occurred to me that this could be a new second year. A time to move forward again from the position of a mature Christian and a mature person. I was only a teen back then.

I am still waiting for the spiritual penny to drop, for the big 'Aha!' moment, but right now I am happily looking forward to the next year.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bible Reading

I finished reading my Bible yesterday. The whole thing, cover to cover. I don't know how many times I've done it, probably because I haven't done it in years. Perhaps a decade. I was using a reading chart designed to take you through in a year, reading a few chapters a day. I did it in fits and starts and took about eighteen months. A knowledge of God and the scriptures is a basic part of any Christian's spiritual foundation and there isn't any better way of gaining it than reading the Bible. I just wish I could be more systematic. I have developed the habit of getting up early and praying most days. I need to develop a similar one for reading my Bible. I don't think its necessary to read from cover to cover, the Bible wasn't written with that in mind, nor do I think its necessary to read it all in a year (or eighteen months, in this case). The Bible isn't supposed to be approached like any other reading project. You need to take the time to aborb it. Still, I using a yearly chart keeps you to a schedule and reading all the through ensures you read everything and aren't concentrating on the parts that interest you most.

The Bible I used was the King James, the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible With Apocrycha (the Penguin paperback edition). I especially liked its formatting, which prints the text as a single column per page. The papers covers, however, did't weather much use and I had to buy a covering for it. This was the first time, in my twenty eight years as a Christian, I read the Apocrypha. I have other Bibles that include it, but this is the first time I've read it. The Apocrypha is a collection of books, or additions to books, that were a part of the Greek translations of the Old Testament that the early Church used, but not a part of the Hebrew Bibles the Jews were using. Whether the Greeks Jews added them, or the other Jews dropped them, or never used them at all, is something we may never know. When Jerome originally translated the Vulgate he wanted to remove them, but the Church said no. When the Reformation happened the Reform churches did remove them, first setting them a part between the Old and New Testaments, and then dropping them all together. The rationale for initially keeping them, even though they weren't considered scripture, was twofold: tradition, they had been a part of the canon for a very long time, and they added to readers' understanding of the world of the New Testament. I've found them interesting enough to include in my next read through, which I am going to start July 1. This time with an English Standard Version (that also includes them). I am going to supplement my readings with William Barclay's New Daily Study Bible commentaries and have already picked up the first two volumes, which cover Matthew.