Monday, November 05, 2007

Trust, and a little OCD

I probably shouldn't be blogging today: The first snowflakes are drifting down, the Vikings won yesterday and Britney Spear's scowl continues to make going through the checkout counter an irritating experience.

But I'm committed to writing each day this month (thanks a lot, Isabel). Oh well. Let's hope my self-censoring radar will kick in before I become inappropriately transparent.

I think one of the benefits to having good people in our lives is their ability to act as mirrors. Without Annie, I would probably consider myself to be a normal and well-rounded guy. I would think that it's perfectly sane to refuse to drink milk more than three days old, that everyone buys journals in bulk without writing in them and that reading for eight hours straight is a good way to improve my social life. (Who says imaginary friends can't make you happy? Try telling Calvin that Hobbes doesn't make him happy.)

Without my wife, I would also probably think that buying a new/used Bible every other week is a reasonable use of my pocket cash.

I used to buy lots of Bibles. Every translation I could get my hands on. NIV, The Message, NKJV, NLT, RSV, with and without cheese. I won't bore you with a list of them all.

I'm not very "religious," at least I don't think so. I pop into a traditional church service once or twice a year, I have no idea what to do when Lent rolls around and haven't the foggiest which side goes first when making the Sign of the Cross. I just try to mimic Jesus, like a little brother following around big brother, annoying the crap out of him (no offense, Luke).

I'm sure I would have annoyed Jesus. "Umm, Tom, it's cool you want to hang out with me and all, but I'm heading out into the desert for some alone time."

Anyway, I'm getting off track here. I knew I should have just posted more pictures today.

Over the years I think I've figured this Bible-buying compulsion thing out. It comes down to a matter of trust.

See, I just don't trust many "Christians." That goes for Bible publishing "Christians" as well. For instance, it's hard for me to read the English Standard Version translation because one of the professors on the translation team is friends with an organization for which I have a strong dislike. I struggle to read the New Living Translation because Pat Roberson likes it. (Sorry, Pat, I know everyone uses you as a whipping boy, but you bring it on yourself.)

Yeah, I know, like I'm Mr. Perfect. Shhh... I'm bearing my soul here.

I also don't trust advertising. Probably because I'm in the industry. I know how jaded and skeptical - and manipulative - advertising is prone to be. Walk down the religion section of any bookstore and look at all the brightly colored Bibles. Try not to think of the team of graphic artists and sales associates and marketing personnel and MBA's who helped put that Bible on the shelf. I used to tear the covers off of my Bibles because it bugged me so much.

Alright, so that last part is pretty weird. And I knew that before Annie told me so. But, hey, you're the one who's still reading about my warped sense of trust.

I suppose that I am still trying to find a Bible that is untainted by flawed people, although I realize that it's a futile search. It's just so hard to learn to trust, you know? My wife's helping me in that department. So are Silvi and Ian.

Stupid winter. Making me look like a freak in front of everyone.


God is Great Beauty Salon said...

And nice to know that there are other weird people out there :)

Leah said...

I don't trust any ONE bible either. That's why I have several translations to compare and then come to my own conclusions. That's not a lack of trust, it's intelligence. LOL

Lori said...

"I suppose that I am still trying to find a Bible that is untainted by flawed people..." I loved this post & in particular this comment, Tom. One of the most amazing things (in my opinion) about God is how He chooses to work through all of us "flawed people". I think our house must have every English translation in existence by the way. Oh, and keep posting those pics! I love them!!

Nicole said...

So funny Tom because just today I was thinking I need a new translation. Aw...maybe that's what I need! ; )

I'm going to go start working on an unflawed one for you right now. LOL And hey...when did you offend me? That's pretty hard to do. You haven't!

HUGS and thanks for making me laugh. I love your honesty!

Shannon **Gabi's Mom** said...

Okay so maybe your a little weird, but I still like you. I'll never look at the Bible section of a book store the same again if it's anything other than black leather bound.

I find it easier myself to just trust in Him not anything else. He will open our eyes to what He knows is best when the time is right. This has especially worked for me when there has been debate within religion such as predestination. I never really got the understanding because each opposing side could show me proof of their belief, but then I realized if God wants me to understand this, then He will reveal it clearly in His time not's faith. I'm rambling at this point. I need to start hitting my Bible again, too.

Kim Ayres said...

I quite like the cover of the copy of the Koran on my bookshelf - sunrise behind a minaret and what have you.

I only have 2 actual bibles - an NIV with a pvc, psuedo leather cover - and my grandmother's King James which has an inscription from her sister scribbled on the inside in 1927.

Carole said...

I also have about a billion bibles. Some pretty well used and some in pristine condition and the version that ticks me off is The Message. Organized religion is the most difficult difficult thing to be a part of and not run around with a bag over my head. And yet, if I can't, it says more about me than God so I keep going and trying. Mostly though I want to shove people in your friend's wood chipper.

Tom P. said...

Do you do the same thing when you are reading Dostoevsky?

Tom said...

GIGBS: Number one weirdo, at your service... glad it gave you a laugh.

Leah: Good advice; thanks!

Lori: Glad to know there are more like me out there (Bible-buyers, that is); aren't you going to CA in 10,9,8, 7, 6,5 days or so? :)

Nicole: I'll be looking for the Nicole Translation on the bookshelves soon. (...the "hedge of protection" thing)

Shannon: Glad you still like me in spite of my idiosyncrasies... and that you seem to have the trust thing down. Hoping to join you in that area one of these days.

Kim: I've got the Penguin Classics version of The Koran on a shelf somewhere; no sunrise. I've always liked the idea of a family Bible...

Tom P: I will if they ever publish it with this cover on it.

Tom said...

Carole: (Your comment popped in out of order - weird)

At the risk of ending up in a wood chipper, I like The Message. Sorry :)

But I detest the way it's been marketed. I'm a big fan of Eugene Peterson, and wish he wouldn't have let the publishers Briney-Spear-icize his translation. (Man, I've got to let her stop getting to me.) The Message: Remix! Give me a break!

I keep trying to go back to church every so often, just can't hack it. It's the wood chipper thing... I don't want to spend my remaining days incarcerated.

Elbog said...

You are absolutely right. The Vikings should not have won.

Nicole said...

Tom, that "hedge thang" didn't offend me at all. I just thought perhaps I needed some education. I think maybe that will be the title of my Bible translation. :)

Tom said...

Elbog: I was only pulling for the Chargers because they were against the Vikings... If/when the Chargers play the Packers... well...

Nicole: I've got $24.99 burning a hole in my pocket; you better start writing.