Seriously, the lack of compassion for and understanding of Muslim culture and the Koran by your every day American has me thinking.
Although I kind of take pride in the fact that I am an open-minded person (not like the Crazies), I really don’t know anything about Muslim culture. Like, is it the Koran or the Qur’an? I don’t know. So I picked up a copy at Borders the other day.
Like the Bible, there are many and varied translations and I had no idea which was better than another. So I based my decision on two things. First chose a trusted publisher so that they will at least treat the translation like literature. And second, the price. I’m a practical person.
$12 for the Koran published by PENGUIN CLASSICS and translated by N.J. Dawood born in Baghdad. He published the first book of the Koran in contemporary English. It is also available in a parallel English-Arabic edition but I decided I should stick to my native language. From the back:
N.J. Dawood’s masterly translation is the result of his lifelong study of the Koran’s language and style, and presents the English reader with a fluent and authoritative rendering, while reflecting the flavour and rhythm of the original.
“Across the language barrier Dawood captures the thunder and poetry of the original.” THE TIMES
And so, against the advice of the introduction, I proceeded to read the first chapter, called a surah. The introduction said that a beginner should start with one of the shorter (easier) chapters. I’ve never been one for listening to advice like this. Don’t think my brain is meaty enough, huh? Stubbornly I ventured into the beautiful and poetic verse.
But reading the Koran got me thinking.
How many Christians not only have never read the Koran but have never read their own Holy Bible through? You don’t have to raise your hand, but I will. Never. Not straight through. I mean, c’mon, some of it is freaking boring and it is downright disturbing in places.
I consider myself to have studied a fair amount. Taken many classes and done many studies of books of the Bible. But it hasn’t been since high school that I took a survey of the Old Testament. So I’m going to also put myself on a plan for reading through the Bible.
Not wanting to be overly aggressive and make goals that you and I both know I will fail to carry out, I found one on-line by Margie Haack which she calls ‘The Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers because you don’t have to do it within a timeframe and it has variety with a focus on genres not books.
I have a confession to make (please do not tell my husband*) but I love ORDER.
I love the tradition and stability of the high church. My soul kind of craves knowing that over a period of one to three years the church would present the full picture. Obviously that renders the opposite, where churches pick and choose and seem to flit about based on the whim or indigestion of the pastor or whether he had a fight with his wife, scares the shit out of me! My church seems to find a balance though it could lean a bit more toward the liturgical calendar for me, but then it’s not about me is it?
*You see, though I crave order I am rather ADHD in my life — Books I am reading, housekeeping, relationships, in my writing, in my heart & mind! I would love to see a flow chart of my brain. No I wouldn’t that would be crazy! Anyhow, my brain wants order. And so when I set my alarm every night to wake at 5:30 am and I get up, make my coffee, take my pills and then sit down and take my reading from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers & Other Servants (that’s me, Other) I feel grounded. I usually have an hour before anyone in the house is awake to follow my plan for the week of reading and prayer. In this structure I find a peace. A tranquility. A sense of order to my chaos.
I sit down alone,
Only God is here;
In his presence I open,
I read his books;
And what I thus learn,
(I would say “And what I thus learn, I try to live.”)
— John Wesley
So, back to the plan for reading the Bible. Here’s how it works:
- Sundays: Poetry
- Mondays: Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
- Tuesdays: Old Testament history
- Wednesdays: Old Testament history
- Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
- Fridays: New Testament history
- Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)
What’s great is if you do miss a day – just pick up with the next reading the next day. You get to the end, when ever. What’s even better, for a big picture person like me, is this plan allows us to see the many interconnections between sections of Scripture. There’s nothing better than a plan that offers discipline and order that I crave and the grace to accomplish it!
Here’s a link to where you can download the plan from Ransom Fellowship.