Sunday, December 30, 2007

What Was God Thinking?

By Kristi Vrooman

Per Daniel and Walter's suggestion, step one in this experiment was to read the book of Leviticus in its entirety. A first for me. I'm just like so many would-be Bible-in-it's-entirety readers who get hung up somewhere in the middle of this book. But I did it. Partly because I had a deadline and knew I'd have face the rest of my tribe (the Kosher breakfast which marked our first meeting as a tribe), and because I'd already agreed to do it. I do have a confession: I read Leviticus in "The Message". I have 5 different Bible translations at home and I chose that one (I know, it's not REALLY a translation... whatever). Part of me wanted to see if Eugene Peterson could work the term "skid-row" into Leviticus as he had in the Psalms. Nope. It seemed pretty straight forward to me. Honestly I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I found myself underlining sections just as often as I would in the New Testament or the Psalms. The marked difference, however, was the sheer number of question marks I felt compelled to draw. A low estimate might be somewhere between 100-125. Really. Many of them were preceeded by these words "What was God THINKING???!!!!" Most of the time they came from a place of confusion, my "working out" the ideas in my head, trying to make sense of them in my 21st Century, North American, Christian context. But I shudder to think how many times those utterances resembled blasphemy. Speaking of blasphemy, in Lev. 24 God says:
"...anyone who blasphemes the Name of GOD must be put to death.
The entire congregation must stone him. It makes no difference whether he is a foreigner or a native, if he blasphemes the Name, he will be put to death."
But as Walter keeps reminding us, "It's all part of the process - we want you to struggle through this." That shouldn't be a problem.

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