The concordance

Recognize that word? I certainly do. The concordance is the part at the back of the Bible where you can look up words and find verses that contain those words. Rob didn't recognize the word, but when we needed a verse last night, he knew to hand the Bible to me.

I spent years and years and years doing Bible drills, where we competed to see who could find the verse first. We would stand in rank, Bibles under our arms and someone would call out military style commands (present arms meant hold your Bible out in front of you) and a scripture reference and we'd all scramble to find the verse. I also remember once that a friend named Mark and I challenged one another to see who could read the Bible the fastest. I don't know if we actually finished. I think maybe our determination ended before the Bible did.

I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church, surrounded by very good people. At least I remember them that way, like most of us remember the people from our childhood. Ultimately, as an adult, I chose a different set of beliefs than those I had as a child, but my beliefs are still heavily based on what I learned in the church, except there's less judgment after life and more being generous during life.

Anyway, last night, we were writing an Easter card to Rob's Mom and Sydney couldn't think of anything to write. Rob suggested some Easter appropriate scripture would be appreciated by his Mom and might bring a tear to her eye. And, it probably will. It probably would bring a tear to my Mom's eye, too. But, the shock of it might just as easily bring on a heart attack.

Our first obstacle was finding a Bible. Rob was the only one of us who knew where to find one. That will disappoint my Mom to no end, but it will probably please her to know that the one he did find was the one my parents sent him right after we got together (don't go there.) But, trying to figure out where to find one reminded me of a Preacher joke.

One day, the preacher stopped by to visit a family. After a nice visitation, the preacher suggested prayer and the reading of scripture. The mother agreed; "oh, yes. Jimmy, go to Mama's bedroom and get that most precious book, that most blessed book. Your Mama's favorite book." Jimmy looked confused for a second and then ran to his parent's bedroom and came back with a very satisfied look on his face and the Sears and Roebuck Catalog.

Okay, back to our story in progress, Rob handed the Bible to me with high expectations. I think he was kind of disappointed when I opened it because a) no bright light, resonating with the sound of angel song shone down upon my head and b) no lightening struck me dead. But, I'll tell you, all those years of Bible training kicked in and within 4 mintues, I had found the verse, checked it against three other references to see if any contained better wording, and was handing the Bible to Sydney so she could copy from it. All the training for those Bible drills was well ingrained.

Oddly, the Bible has been on my mind since I heard a story on NPR about the King James Version; how it came about and that it was going out of style and being replaced by new translations. Somehow, that's sad to me and I'm not real sure why. I guess I have nostalgia for the old fire and brimstone teachings and strict rules. And, while I don't refer to the King James version much in everyday life, there is still a lot of it that became a part of me (tho Leviticus clearly didn't take).

I wish I could relate the wonder of all the youth camps and Bible studies that I felt. It was a magical time in my life. But, time moved on and I began to realize that, despite the beattitudes, it was the greedy who were inheriting the earth and no one was listening to the peacemakers, and blessed are the well educated. But, also, blessed are those that see the needs of others and try to do something about it. Blessed are those that feel an obligation to help those less fortunate. And, blessed are the teachers and parents that pass those beliefs on to the next generation by example.

I'm glad that I have those strong beliefs from my childhood, and I believe that I am passing them along. I just have my own way of doing it now. Less judgment, condemnation and brimstone and more handing cash out the car window to the homeless.

Take care and have a great Way Back Wednesday. Lane


Bonnie K Hunter said...

We are walking that same path...I too was raised in a very strict religious environment, and it wasn't until I grew up (It took til I was 40!) and could step away from it all to see it for what it wasn't, and that the emperor really HAD no clothes, and there was no man behind the curtain pushing the buttons for my life, that I really took CONTROL of my life.

But the King James version is what I grew up with too, and at Christmas time, and Easter time...there is no narration that sounds as good. And thus it is :c)

Thanks for sharing!

lw said...

I'm a recovering Catholic, but I love the poetry of the King James version-- "For now we see through a glass, darkly." It doesn't get any more poetic than that.

I know where all of my Bibles are. I also have my mother's; I took them after she passed, and her old Douay-Rheims is about as divergent a translation as they come. I remember that we weren't allow to read it as children for fear that we would mar it or tear it. I can't imagine what she thought when the Baptists at Youth for Christ gave me a New Testament that I carried around in high school till it was dog-eared and dirty and worn.

Paul said...

I read the NIV for my daily study / reading. I have a bible program on my PC that has something like 18 versions of the bible plus a host of other reference works, including an exhaustive concordance, which can be, frankly, overwhelming.

"The Message" is a modern translation that is written as the scriptures originally were, without verse references. There are even a few places where the chapter references are in different places than a more "traditional version". Letters in the message read more like letters and less like a piece of reference material.

I have two soft leather bound copies Lane, you are welcome to the extra if you'd like. I find it much easier to read than even the NIV, because it reads more like a book.

Send me your address and I'll ship it if you'd like.


Becky said...

I am a professing believer and, while I am conservative in my beliefs, I adhere strongly to the reminders for no judgment, no condemnation, and much forgiveness and love toward others. No one's sins are greater than my own and I try to love everyone. And much to my satisfaction, I find that there is much to love about everyone....and we all have a dark side...but the Bible says "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins" IPeter 4:8 NIV
Works for me. Love you!!

Judy said...

Thank you for going "way back" to Wednesday night youth group. Many a time I raised my "sword" during the Bible drills - ready to find the passage as soon as it was called out!

I have many fond memories of being raised in the Baptist church. I am very thankful my parents saw fit to take me where I could hear the gospel preached and memorize scripture that would stay with me into adulthood. All of the verses I learned were from the KJV and come to mind very often.

The thing I have noticed through the years is that churches/denominations have gone through quite a few changes. But God and His word has remained unchanged. He hasn't hopped on the latest spiritual bandwagon that has come around. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever." (Look it up in a concordance!) :)

We are to treat one another with love; reserving judgement of sins to God - for He is the only perfect judge.

Thanks for sharing. Always enjoy your posts.

Michelle said...

As always, I love reading your words. Thank you for a wonderful post.

qltmom9 said...

It is sweet that you blessed his momma with some Scripture and that you honored your drill heritage when you passed on that there is some value in The Word to your daughter.
I still like my KJV best also. My mom from Kentucky used to lovingly have me look up MANY things...I'm glad I had that foundation.
Your blog is much fun and I love to read how you care so much for your daughter.
Lucy (a sinner saved by Jesus' grace)

Elizabeth said...

Loved this post! When I was growing up (9th through 12th grade) I had a 'released' hour from school, during which I attended religion classes. The class was taken out of the number of electives I could take each year. The little building where the classes were held was adjacent to, but not on school property. We did what you call 'bible drills' too, only we called it 'scripture chase' and it was a game. We all sat at our desks and the teacher would quote a key line in the verse and we had to find it just on that. I'm way out of practice. These days, I go to a site sponsored by my church and I can search in their "on-line concordance". We use the King James version of the bible as well.

As for judgement, well, it's not up to me to sort it all out, and I'm glad of that. I just try to do what I know is right and help those around me. I think you've got it just about right in your last two paragraphs. Lovely post today.

xo -El