An Aboriginal Mental Challenge: Can You Read Without Preconceptions?

2021-02-27 G.K.ChestertonG.K Chesterton is the source for today’s blog: a challenge to do some mental gymnastics to discover something we may have been missing.  In his 1925 philosophical tome, The Everlasting Man, the “prince of paradox” presents an interesting challenge: to read a Bible story from an aboriginal mindset.  You see, we have Christmas and Easter, jewelry and architecture, names of streets, cities and buildings and so many myriad additional references in our world to that unique man, Jesus, that it is difficult to imagine anyone anywhere in our global community that does not know something about Jesus.  And depending on the source of that something, our views of Jesus have been significantly shaped by the introductions we have been given, whether from a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, friend, enemy, or Christian/anti-Christian teaching.  And Chesterton contends that much of our view, even in the “Christian west” is significantly distorted.

So I wish to challenge you, as Chesterton has challenged me, to do some mental exercising.  Set your mind as though you have never heard of Jesus, a Christian church, or anything “christian.”  Pretend for this exercise that your only exposure to the divine has been the thunderous clouds that bring rain and frightening lightning; a starry sky at night and the warm and sometimes burning heat of the sun at day; the long graceful hop of a wallaby or neck of a giraffe; the worrisome growl of a bear or roar of a lion; a baby’s sweet coo and cry and the caress of your beloved.

Begin by beguiling your brain into thinking you have never received a Christmas gift or hunted an Easter egg or walked on Christchurch Avenue or stood in front of the spires of Notre Dame Cathedral.  You have never heard of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul or John.  Equally, you have never heard of Aristotle, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, Rama or Krishna or Zoroaster.   Add to that, you have never been concerned with politics, social structure or economics; no Communists, Conservatives, Democrats, Greens, Liberals, Republicans, Socialists, Tories or any other ideology for guidance of a nation.

This is a difficult mental exercise, but I encourage you, that it is not impossible.  Settle in your mind that you have never been taught anything about any god or history of creation, whether theism or atheistic evolution.  You have never worried about issues of government or society.  Your mind has been focused all these years on eating and drinking to stay alive and whatever day-to-day activities were required to survive, be at peace, avoid enemies and enjoy your time on earth.

Now, with this mindset, approach a new short book someone has brought you.  Its title is very short, just four letters, L-u-k-e.  If you can find it in its original formatting, without chapter and verse numbers, all the better.  (Chapters and verses were added centuries later to make research and memorization easier.)

However, it is available at a website where you can look up your language in which to read it.  If English is your native language, I encourage you to use the ESV noted in the website connection.  If another language is your “heart language,” feel free to try to find it under the ALL tab when you pull down the languages from the little arrow by the default version that opened.
So sorry, Mongolian is not on the list . . . yet.  But Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Tagalog and LOTS of others are there.
Any Gujariti readers here? 😉

2021-02-27 Biblegateway

Now that you have emptied your mind of any preconceptions about this little story, begin with Luke’s introduction to his narrative for his friend, Theophilus.  Read the short biography at a single sitting if you can; in your heart language it should not take much more than 90 to 120 minutes .  Remember, you have never heard of these people, Luke, Herod, Elizabeth, Martha or Jesus before.  Your entire impression of these people will come from your reading this for the first time!

You may want to have a pencil and paper handy, and note what you discover about some of the characters introduced to you for the first time.  Questions are sure to come up, as we begin with no information on the culture or history of these people and events; Why did He say THAT!?  Why did she do that!?  Why was He so rude?  Why did that confuse them?  Isn’t Jesus supposed to be meek and mild? Aha, you’ve slipped from the aboriginal mindset and are remembering something you’ve heard.  Try again! 😁

If you want to dialog about your questions, email me (capost3k@gmail.com) or comment here.  No guarantees I have any answers for you.  Either Tim Keller or Rick Warren wrote (but I cannot find the referemce), “When someone thinks he knows all the answers, you have to wonder if he knows all the questions.”   (Similar to a Confucius quote.)

Here’s to hoping you have a good week and discover who Jesus really is.
Enjoy Peter Hollen’s and Home Free’s a-capella performance of Amazing Grace.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”  C.S.Lewis

Intermezzo: A Corona-Virus Version of the Bible ;-)

2020-04-21 Corona Virus Version of the Bible

Well, a couple of months of self-quarantining can affect anyone’s brain, but for some of the editors at The Salty Cee (https://saltycee.com/news/translators-work-furiously-on-new-corona-virus-version-cvv-of-the-bible/), methinks it has gone on too long!  Working on the Corona-Virus Version of the Bible either commits sacrilege or heals with hilarious humor.  For a hearty belly-laugh, enjoy the first draft of Proverbs 31:10-31.

“Who can find a virtuous infection-free wife?
For her worth is far above toilet paper.
Her hand-sanitized husband safely trusts her; so he will never get the virus.
She empties the grocery store shelves all the days of the pandemic.
She seeks paper products, and willingly works with essential oils to bring her homemade hand sanitizer recipe to the merchant ships while maintaining social distancing protocols.
She ships her food from Amazon to avoid any added social contact.
She also rises while it is yet night to keep tabs on the COVID-19 infection statistics in various states and countries.
And provides food for her household because all the restaurants are closed.
And fires her maidservants since, who knows, they might be carriers!
She considers stock in Scott Paper Company and buys it.
From her profits she increases her homemade hand-sanitizer production quotas to meet demand.
She perceives that her essential oils and alcohol content are both good.
She girds herself with a stylish N95 mask.
And her internet connection does not go out by night.
She puts her hand to the spindle to make cloth in case paper products do end up running out.
She extends her hand to wipe horizontal surfaces that are in need of daily doses of disinfecting.
She is not afraid of visitors to her household, for all her household is also clothed with N95 masks . . . but turns them all away anyway, just to be extra safe.
Her husband is known in the news for selling toilet paper on the black market as he sits among the preppers of the land.
Paranoia and precaution are her clothing; she shall rejoice when the time of COVID-19 has come and gone.
She opens her mouth with wisdom for how to prepare for catastrophes and on her tongue is the fine print within the governor’s “shelter-at-home” laws.
She watches over the driveway of her household to shoo away any and all visitors.
And does not wash her hands with idleness but with THREE Happy Birthday recitations.
Her children rise up and call her blessed and corona-free.
Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many preppers have done well, but you excel them all.
CNN is deceitful and Trump is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD and COVID-19, she shall be praised.”