Lectio divina (latin for holy reading) is a way of praying and worshiping with Scripture with one’s whole self.  The articulation of the practice has been described using a couple of metaphors. One metaphor being a ladder with four rungs: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), oratio (response), and contemplatio (contemplation, soaking in the stillness of God’s loving presence). These describe the different purposes that a person engages in during the prayer. The other metaphor is that of a cow chewing its cud. The cow chews the grass, ingesting it, then regurgitates the grass chewing on it again as it moves through the deeper levels of the cows digestive tract where more and more digestion takes place.  Below is a method I have adapted from Andrew Dreitcer (San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, CA) I have personally found it helpful to do it a few times to get comfortable with the mechanical aspects. I also have two trusted mature Christian friends who I debrief prayer times with. They covenant with me to listen to the Lord for me and share their perspective with me. This is distinct from a gossip session or giving mere human advice. One last suggestion is in the spirit of the old adage, “Less is more.”  I find that stillness and limiting words is a challenge for most people. I know I am more accustomed to speaking freely, so this is a good discipline. Choose the few words that most capture your experience and share those with the Lord as prompted.  Here goes……………

Choose a short piece of Scripture to pray with. Prepare an exposition from a trusted commentary of this passage and have it ready to refer to for one of the final stages of the prayer (see ‘How To Read The Bible For All It’s Worth’ by Fee and Stuart. They have an excellent listing of quality commentaries in the back of their book.).

Prepare yourself for prayer in whatever way is beneficial for you. Find a time and a place free from distractions. Turn off the phone, close the room to your door, let people know you do not want to be disturbed, etc..  Invite God’s Spirit to speak to you and pray a prayer of protection from voices that do not come from God’s Spirit. For some adding a physical symbol of prayer and God’s presence is helpful such as lighting a candle.

1.  Read the passage of Scripture two times and listen for a word or a phrase that leaps out at you.

  • It will catch your attention in some way either because it beckons you, addresses you, stirs you, unnerves you, or disturbs you.
  • Repeat this word or phrase to yourself. Speak it out loud or write it down.

2.  Read the passage of Scripture again, this time focus on the word or phrase that caught your attention and notice what emotions or images you have in regards to this.

  • For now, let your mental concepts and interpretations go. Focus on the feeling or emotion you have that is connected with the word or phrase from the passage. You may also have an image or picture connect with it. Be patient. Give yourself time to pay attention to the emotions and visual elements of hearing that word or phrase.
  • Repeat the word or phrase and then write or speak out to the Lord the feeling or image you connect with it.

3.  Read the passage of Scripture again and consider if there is a situation in your life right now that this word or phrase, emotion or image is addressing.

  • Now pray about the connection the Lord is drawing out of your daily life. What areas of your life is the Lord wanting to speak into? What areas of your life at home, at work, or in your leisure time is God addressing? Take some time to consider this.
  • What do you think God is saying to you about this part of your life? How would God form you through this word? What significance does the emotion and vision hold in God’s revelation? What response is being asked of you in this? Take some time to consider this.
  • Repeat this word or phrase and then write or speak with the Lord about your understanding of the situation in your life right now God is addressing with this and the response it is evoking.

4.  Read the passage of Scripture again, then draw upon the exposition of a commentary of this passage. Consider the application of this meditation.

  • It is not necessary to attempt to remember everything you are reading. What you are paying attention to is that what you have understood from God thus far is confirmed by the objective interpretation of Scripture. What the Lord is saying to you and revealing will not be in contradiction with Scripture.
  • How else is the gift of the scholar’s wisdom and knowledge encouraging you in hearing from God in this passage?
  • Repeat the word or phrase and then share with the Lord your understanding of His revelation to you thus far, including  if there is any action that you need to take in response to this.

5.  Read the passage one last time. Take an extended period of silence and stillness, soaking in the reality of God’s loving presence with you. Thank God for this time of prayer to close.


The ancient church and monastic communities have kept alive a way of praying with the Scriptures that follows more closely with a Biblical model, encompassing coming to God and Scripture with our whole self, spirit, soul and body. I feel that an important note to make in beginning is that the purpose is not to delve more deeply into a human emotion or thought in and of itself, but to be attentive to God’s purposes and His use of them in a human being.

I would like to be caught up more deeply in the person of Jesus, who said,

“‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees (Greek: to look at, figuratively or literally; perceive, see) his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  ~John 5.19 (NIV)

He also said of Himself,

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear (Greek: to hear, in various senses) and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”  ~John 5.30 (NIV)

It is clear that in addition to mental perception, Scripture alludes to a spiritual sense through the use of vision and spiritual hearing.  Have you ever been driving down the road and a person’s name or picture of their face has come to you? You take this as a signal to pray for this person. Later you discover that something significant for which they needed your prayers proves to have taken place, sometimes even at the exact time their name came to you. I do not know of a Bible study where someone has not described such an event, yet I hear all the time of Christians who will deny and fear the visionary and auditory aspects of their spirit.

To understand the whole range of senses in a human being we look to Scripture, itself.  It does not compartmentalize the imaginative and emotional dimension of the human being from the intellectual dimension. In fact, from Genesis to Revelation it tells a story of the human capacity to see with all components of our being. I have seen Christian brothers and sisters take these to extremes. Some Christians have a tendency to reject emotion and imagination, fearing its new age aspects or the creative realm, itself. On the other hand, others delve into the human aspect of emotion and imagination, seeing and hearing only a human creation. I would like to suggest that we reclaim the creative dimension of our relationship with God yet make use of safeguards God has clearly put in place. If either extreme describes you, I suggest a prayer of repentance so that nothing will block God’s intention to speak to you through Scripture, neither fear nor self-absorption.

What will follow is a prayer practice involving opening all parts of the human experience for God to make use of to speak to us. If Christianity is anything, it is a witness to the reality that God relates with humankind in love. Relationship suggests communion, “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3.8) with the Lord. This communion implicates our daily life of driving in traffic, folding laundry, getting ready for school or work in the morning, committee meetings, shopping at the grocery store, eating dinner….EVERYTHING! “For in him we live and move and have our being.” ~Acts 17.28

My seminary professor, Andrew Dreitcer, taught me a wonderful way to pray with Scripture. Did you know that the word ‘study’  appears only five times in Strong’s concordance of the Bible? With the exception of two of the instances, they each have different root words that are translated into the English word ‘study’ so I will include the Hebrew meaning in parenthesis.

Ec 12:12 “much study is wearisome of the flesh.” (intense mental application; study)

Pr 15:28 “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” (to murmur, to ponder, imagine, meditate, speak, talk, utter, study)

Pr 24:2 “For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.” (same as above)

1 Th 4:11 “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (eager or earnest to do something, labor, strive)

2 Ti 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (to make effort, diligent, labor, study)

In the NIV, it’s the same story. The word, ‘study’ occurs only 4 times.

Ez 7:10 “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching  its decrees and laws in Israel.” (diligent, inquire, make inquisition, search)

Ec 1:13 “I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! ” (same as above)

Ec 12:11,12 “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd.
Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. ” (intense mental application, study)

Jn 5:39 “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. ”  (to investigate, search)

I have had to readjust my own thinking and approach to Scripture because I was taught at church growing up that Bible STUDY, and mental application alone was a pinnacle of existence and achievement in the Christian life.  In its original language, the word that translates to our English word, “study” (in our ears we hear, “mental application”) truly means diligent searching, seeking and inquiry and actually includes the imaginative dimension. This is confirmed in God’s interaction with people through history. We have Scripture precisely because God came and spoke, revealing Himself through dreams, visions, thoughts, mental processes and emotions of His people. If you read its stories you cannot help but become aware of the fact that the stories, themselves, are stories of people hearing God’s voice through mental and imaginative and emotional dimensions. In fact, Scripture does not differentiate clearly like the English language does between feelings and thoughts.  Hebrew words that describe the ‘heart’ do not separate the mental aspects of a person from their emotional and imaginative aspects.

That being said, I appreciate Dr. Dreitcer’s approach to praying the Scriptures (and I will detail it in the next post), otherwise known in monastic settings and church history as ‘Lectio divina‘ (holy reading). The one element I would add to his creative approach is a safeguard to treating Scripture as a 60’s  Rorschach (inkblot) test where one only projects their own unconscious emotions and conflicts into the meaning of the text. It is common, for example, for a 20th century person to read the text and think of the language and what it is conveying in terms of their own hidden emotions, thoughts, and expressions as a 20th century person.  Therefore, I add the final element in Lectio divina of using a trusted commentary. As the author of Hebrews states, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Therefore, if God truly is using Scripture to speak to a person through their own thoughts, emotions and imagination then the objective meaning of Scripture will confirm this. I highly recommend, “How To Read The Bible For All It’s Worth” by Fee and Stuart.  Gordon Fee is a Pentecostal scholar, which in my humble opinion is a right and balanced combination! They include a listing of the cream of the crop Evangelical commentaries, based on the focus and giftings of particular scholars. Excellent in and of itself.

I am always considering ways to instill a deeper unseen reality in my boys.  Most importantly, to experience through imagination and physicality the love and truth of Christ. I know talking about it is good and important, teaching concepts. But a growing awareness of their own experience of this absolute truth is powerful. At lunchtime Gian gets to pick a love song to Jesus.  I’ve been slowly increasing their repertoire and in the past few months added the “Johnny Appleseed song.”  I saw this for the first time when my Mom was the Children’s Director at our church.  She would check out movies from the library at Marylhurst college and show them on special Sundays in the summer. Disney’s “Johnny Appleseed”  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IASrP1-DulU)  was one of them. I still remember the song and so teach it to my boys.

When I was planning out the week with Gian I added a Johnny Appleseed book to our library list, thinking September was the perfect time to delve a little more deeply. After reading a simple poetic version, Johnny Appleseed by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet, I took to youtube, discovering the link above.  Michael was transfixed. Watching the video brought up some great conversation points among us. Most of all, I have a feeling the lunchtime song will be sung with much fervor tomorrow!



We are really enjoying the “Five In A Row” homeschooling idea.  But rather than buy their curriculum I have been using the booklist from “Honey For a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt to pick good books and build on those.  Essentially, Five In A Row is the idea that you begin with a “great book,” a “living book” and then choose a content area from the book to focus on for each of the five days you are working with that same book.  This last time I picked, “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!”  by Lloyd Moss.  I come from a family (though it skipped my generation, skipped me at least) of classical musicians, so I felt a natural inclination to want to pass on the love of good music to my boys.  This book is excellent! There are so many good things about it, it was easy to pick springboard areas.

One day, we focused on Math as content.  The counting in the book builds and builds to create a small chamber group of ten instruments. I spent the whole day trying to involve Gian in counting things with me.  Like at breakfast, where we make oatmeal and he helps me count out the fruit and almonds into each bowl.

Two more days of reading this book we spent on picking out a couple of specific kinds of instruments: string and wind.  I supplemented the string instrument day with making a “violin” out of a cardboard box and rubber bands and we used the ‘Let’s Make Music” set’s “The Violin and Other Stringed Instruments” to just peruse.  Now Gian knows that you hold a violin under your chin! One of the memorable moments with the violin for him. The DK Publishing Company also has a fabulous book out, “Children’s Book of Music” which explores the historical timeline of music and includes a CD.  We used Track 12, “Spring” from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons because it has primarily a violin solo as the centerpiece.  We pretended to dance around holding a violin under our chins and scratching the bow back and forth to make music with the “Spring” violin.

For the wind instrument day we again used the ‘Let’s Make Music’  book “The Recorder and Other Wind Instruments.”  Gian has a recorder so we goofed around with that and we covered up the holes to make different sounds.  Then we got a bottle out of the recycling bin and puffed into that to make sound.  During our visit to Oregon, we had just had a visit with my aunt and uncle (who started “A Tuba Christmas in Portland!) and they had pulled out some of their brass instruments for the kids to blow on and dance to.  It was easy to recall this memory, showing Gian pictures and videos of that day.  Later in the day we danced to Track 17 from the DK CD: “The Ride of the Valkyries” which has a strong brass presence.

The fourth day (we tend to string this along all throughout a 7 day period rather than Five Straight In A Row) Gian and I listened to Track 21, a section from Edvard Grieg’s music for the play ‘Peer Gynt.’  It’s a great one for kids because it starts out slowly and quietly and then gets faster and faster and much louder.  We danced to it, starting out at a walk and then running.  We have an “O” in our house which can either save you or drive you mad as a parent! There is basically floor space surrounding the stairs that go down to the basement creating a track of sorts for the boys to dizzy themselves on.  When we calmed down, I put out two big sheets of paper and got out our bag of crayons.  We colored to the song again and again, coloring very slowly and then coloring faster and faster.  We call this ‘Music Art,’ drawing to the beat of the music.  Gian just thought it was funny.

For the fifth day we just sort of “goofed off” and checked out “Elmo’s World: Let’s Play Music” and the Scholastic Storybook Treasures Read Along DVD of the book.  Elmo had a great segment on the violin and Gian really got into it.  It helped doing the DVDs on the last day because by the fifth day he’s worked pretty hard on taking some focused time together on one book.  I personally just loved this book to pieces, so it was easy for me to share with Gian.  It helps that there are little kitty cats and a dog who sort of follow the instruments as audience members.



by Patricia Polaco         

I have been completely inspired by the homeschooling movement.  Especially the philosophy and practice of Classical Education where students move through the trivium of grammar (foundations/memorization), logic (analytical) and rhetoric (application of learning with force and originality). One of my past blog entries was entitled, “Homeschooling With A Twist” as this is how I have prayerfully lived out our convictions as a family.  Our expression is to enroll at a local public school, which we absolutely love, and then supplement this learning with much home involvement and spiritual emphasis to frame the learning. A good friend recently introduced me to the homeschooling process called, “5 In A Row” which takes a piece of excellent literature and uses it five days in a row to teach content areas (as opposed to “skill” areas such as math and reading). Using the same book, one day you would teach geography, for example, then art, then history, then another subject.  Brilliant!   See here:  http://fiarhq.com/fiveinarow.inf/index.html

Well, the past two weeks Gian has expressed sincere fear of lightning and thunderstorms.  We were outside washing our cars as a family when a thunderstorm passed by.  There was lightning and thunder and so we urged the boys into the garage so we could watch it together as the storm passed.  Apparently it made quite an impression on Gian.  He began waking up every night screaming and inconsolable. Joel and I would take turns running upstairs and when we would ask him, “What’s wrong?” He would inevitably mention the word “lightning.”  So, the ‘Aha’ for me was praying about how to console Gian and help him to feel safe while on a run one morning my friend mentioned the “5 In A Row” idea.  I immediately remembered a favorite book of mine since calling Kansas, the land of thunderstorms, “home.”  Patricia Polacco has written a wonderful book, “Thundercake.”  It is about a Grandma and her granddaughter riding out a storm by making cake together.  Perfect! So, we set out to try our own version of 5 In A Row with “Thundercake.”

Day 1- I printed off a map of the U.S. here:http://www.nickjr.com/printables/printable-usa-map.jhtml   I pasted it on newspaper which we got from our local paper just by asking.  They sold it to us for a couple bucks as the ‘end of the roll.’ We then used the map to trace our summer travels to visit family in Oregon, Michigan, then Colorado on the map with one of his matchbox cars and a toy airplane.  Then we read the book (it is set in a Michigan farm) and went back to the map to find Michigan.  Michigan is a nice one because it looks like a hand with a thumb.

Day 2 – We read the book again and then used a preschool tactile project of pouring cornstarch into a pan (I used a baking sheet-there was easy, but a lot of cleanup afterward! Maybe outside would be best) and I let Gian explore.  I made lightning bolts and the letter ‘G’ in the cornstarch a number of times, but just let him explore it.  He tried a couple of ‘G’s himself, but mostly just enjoyed the texture and making it “snow.”

Day 3 – We read the book again and then I used a couple of simple books  from the library to explore the scientific concept of lightning/electricity.  We also checked out “Electricity Is Everywhere” by Nadia Higgins and “Using Electricity” by Jim Pipe. Since Gian is so little, I just used a couple of the main ideas with him: 1) electricity and how it comes into our house; 2) trains and how electricity makes them go since Gian loooooves trains; and 3) how lightning ties into the subject.  We did the balloon experiment where we rubbed and rubbed it and stuck it to the wall and then also took a little field trip outside to see all of the wires and poles in our neighborhood and how they go into our house and come out at the outlets.

Day 4- We read the book again and then focused on the historical aspect.  We checked out a book, “How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning” by Rosalyn Schanzer and a dvd, the “NEST Animated Hero Classics: Benjamin Franklin” cartoon. Both of these were above Gian’s level, but I just picked certain parts from each one to share with him as his attention span is pretty short.  But, anyway, he heard that Benjamin Franklin did an experiment with a kite and lightning and “discovered” electricity.

Day 5-We read the book one last time and made Thundercake from a cake mix since Gian’s attention span again is shorter than an older child.  The one in the book is nice, but a bit more time consuming. It is a recipe that makes a chocolate layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting topped with strawberries.  It even has pureed tomatoes in it which I had never encountered before. I plan on taking this route too for our next thunderstorm with Gian.

I am definitely feeling the joy of sharing a beloved book with Gian and in the process enjoying learning along with him. The best part? He hasn’t woken up crying at night or expressed fear of lightning since we started the week.🙂

I have a good friend who is an atheist.  Although we disagree passionately, we love to have good conversation around our differences.  Our differences seem to boil down to the placement of our faith. Rather than being against faith, my friend has just put his faith in a different location than I. (I think a part of him cringes at this comment, but he won’t dispute it) It is widely known and acknowledged even by the scientific community via psychiatry/psychology that human beings operate out of an identity, an understanding of and orientation to reality–a faith, if you will–that makes functionality possible.

At the end of the day, he believes it to be silly of me to place my faith in anything that is not scientific.  And at the end of the day, I think it is silly of him to dismiss the reality of a divine being and of his tendency to believe  that even the scientific is not a leap of faith. He explains the human tendency toward “God” to be a phenomenon of people groups who have a deep emotional need to explain why the world goes about as it does. I ask him how he can prove that hypothesis.  And then  I explain my understanding that everyone “worships” something, has an unseen spiritual component that defines and identifies their devotion: what the most important thing is in their life and how they show through behavior that it is most important. Even if that most important thing is the scientific process.  Again, he cringes when I tell him that he “worships” and I call him an “evangelical atheist.”  Then we laugh, but he doesn’t argue. According to Webster’s dictionary, I might be on to something.

So, it was with early historical cultures…spirituality: “worship” and devotion, is and was simply a part of the human construct. Deities were nothing new.  The idea that there was a world which we couldn’t see but which our behavior pointed toward, a reality of human identification. So, the concept of covenant, while sort of an archaic term, I would like to suggest was and still is a part of the human construct.  In our English dictionary it would be defined in terms of a  “binding agreement especially as it pertains to the performance of some action.”  The Hebrew language has a similar overtones. It is a relational, binding mutual understanding that assumes certain behavior on the part of both author and signature.  This part of the human construct, that humans are, by nature, covenantal, is something Leviticus and the whole Pentateuch, then all of Scripture, shouts loudly. Other paralleled cultures, in fact, had their own breed of covenants with their gods. Babylonians, with the Code of Hammurabi and Canaanites have given us archeological remains of covenants with their gods.

I would suggest that in thousands of years the future generations will find archeological evidence of our time and our age of covenants we have made as human beings. Binding relationships that render behavior that must follow. These covenants can be either overtly or covertly “spoken.”  They are merely “agreements” between parties that are defined by patterned behavior and they reveal authors and signatures.  For example, with my atheist friend. The scientific process is the author and he signs on the dotted  line toward behavior that will show his devotion…hypothesis, observations, testing, making of theories.  Or, the christian who has this sort of agreement with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, revealed in Scripture who asks that they trust in a walking and talking relationship with The Divine Being and be obedient to such a relationship. The thing that makes Christianity distinctive isn’t the covenant aspect, I believe.  It is the nature of this covenant that is so distinct related to others. As it is revealed in Leviticus, in the Pentateuch and in all of Scripture, there is a supernatural Being who is personal and communal in nature and who reached and is reaching out historically to all people. Yet He is the author and we play the part of the fool to “sign on” for such a radical revolutionary thing as dialogue with God.

Before After! Breadbasket a little something for the Mama...


We actually got all ready and drove to school today only to discover the barren playground and “No School” signs posted.  Didn’t check the internet this morning and missed the cancellation. I was thinking that since we’d used all of our snow days this year they’d give it a go, but alas. Anyway, it was definitely time to hunker down and do something special.

I love the book, “I Can Make A Rainbow” by Marjorie Frank.  It’s a great collection with such a variety of fun things.  We picked out her ‘Dough-It-Again’ recipe that makes a yummy bread play dough you can bake and eat. Guess what shapes were created at our house?  Ah-yes, Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars. Oh, and Gian made some animals: a giraffe, shark, turtle.  And there was even enough for Mommy to make some braided loafs.  We ate them right away and had the braids and some shapes leftover for lunch tomorrow.  It was a very healthy snack. I imagine you could do just about anything with the dough from making little people to miniature sized things such as food items for dolls.  You can shellac the sculpture if you want to save it.

You could easily half the recipe and have plenty for a few kiddos, as it is a recipe with about 5 cups of flour.  One note is that you do want to make sure you try to get flat results that bake better.  The braids did work out well, but I just baked them separately from the flat cookie-cutter sculptures so they’d turn out. They do have raw egg and honey in them, so little ones don’t want to eat them until baked.

Here’s the recipe:

1. Sprinkle 1 package of dry yeast (I used bread machine yeast) into 1 1/2 cups of very warm water. Stir until the yeast dissolves.

2. Mix in: 1 egg, 1/4 cup shortening (I melted mine), 1/4 cup honey, and 1 tsp salt.

3. Stir in flour, a little at a time, until you have a ball of dough that’s not too sticky to handle (About 5 cups of flour-I used half whole wheat and it worked well).

4. Knead the dough 5 minutes.

5. Shape the dough into a large figure or some small ones. Flat figures work best and remember that the dough does rise a bit when baked. *Note: the key to this is using enough flour on the table or wax paper so that it keeps its shape when you move it to the cookie sheet.

6. Place sculptures on a cookie sheet and cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 25 minutes (We couldn’t wait! Let it rise for about 15, but also we used bread machine yeast).

7. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown in a 350 degree oven.

8. Eat! with butter, peanut butter,  flavored cream cheese or other dip..Mmmmmmm…Enjoy!

ark of the Covenant tabernacle: "dwelling place" law of the Covenant

Did you know that Leviticus used to be the very first book that Jewish children studied in the synagogue?  I think it reveals something about where we land today that “Leviticus” is just about the last book anyone, for that matter, reads nowadays.

Maybe it is a marketing issue.  The translators just got the marketing strategy down wrong.  Would YOU rather read the book by its Hebrew name, “and he (the Lord) called” or by its given English name,  “Leviticus”?  But maybe it goes even deeper than that…a lot deeper.  Maybe it goes to the heart of the fact that we don’t have many models of Scripture with skin on, so to speak.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s actually an ecclesial (nature of the church) issue, more of an organic issue.  That we don’t understand or resonate with Leviticus because that resonance is not part of our church DNA…an understanding of it is just not being passed on, not making it into our genetic coding, so to speak.

This is probably one of the main ideas that has hit me squarely between the eyes as I’ve pondered and meditated and carefully searched and investigated Leviticus. Why is this book so hard to get?  There are a number of earth-shaking theological assertions that Leviticus makes that drives that point home even further.

Even though I haven’t yet finished chewing on this book, I figured that if I didn’t at least begin to get some thoughts down that I’d have a hairy nest of  ideas on the other end.  So, here goes.

The first thing that struck me is just the very nature of the book.  We might think of Leviticus as the out of touch, prudish, Sister- Christian of the bunch. “Do this…Don’t do that…wash this..ah,ah,ah better not do this until you’ve done that.”  Or that God revealed himself through a long list of rules that typify the “Old God” but not the “New God” anymore.  One thing I believe I’ve discovered is that rather than being primarily a book of law it is actually an historical narrative that provides the setting for the laws. Not vice versa. First and foremost, it is the story of God and God’s people.  Leviticus and the other books of the Pentateuch tell the story of a God who loves, who creates humankind to share a life together with Him, a life of walking and talking in a land where all needs are accounted for. But tragedy and triumph follow close together in this story: people leave behind the land of walking and talking together and set out to meet needs all on their own with disastrous results.  Ultimately, slavery takes humankind hostage and God, the Rescuer, leads them through miracles out of the slavery of Egypt, through the wilderness, and establishes a covenant with them. This covenant then releases a pattern of life to the people, a pattern that imitates God, Himself, and mirrors His goodness, His love, and His glory. It is THIS story that provides the setting for the laws that are within.

So…divine revelation typifies this book and all others in our holy Scriptures. A theology (image of God)  is being presented as well as an anthropology (view of people) and we are free to buy into it or not. Buying into this revelation is costly, for one then has to leave a certain amount of self-determination at the door and intentionally, willingly, become the fool to believe that God reveals Himself very particularly in human history.

Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole star...

Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole star in this 1964 portrayal of the inception of the Anglican church.  As Joel is currently taking a class on the historical Anglican church, we are snuggling up together often with glasses of red wine over old movies (rather good actually) of Henries the (insert numbers here) and of faithful souls. I am riding my husband’s coattails as an intuitive person would…completely intrigued by the historical narrative and yet still eluded by the chronological prowess most history buffs possess. That said, I will share, rather quite like a spiritual director where something *pops* out at me. A nod here to being the mother of small children and drinker of a little red wine:  I still need to finish this film out as I keep falling asleep right after the conversation between Thomas Becket and King Henry II that displays some of the magnificence that garnered it 12 Oscar nominations.

The scene opens with King Henry and Thomas Becket riding horseback in a victory parade through a French village the British army has just rolled over.  They are smiling and nodding while having a smug conversation over the Chancellor’s occupational strategies.  The pre-converted Thomas Becket gives the King cunning and brilliant advice: “One must never drive one’s enemies to despair. It makes him strong. Gentleness is better politics. It saps virility…A good occupational force must never crush. It must corrupt.”

Keep in mind…I also am still making my way through M Scott Peck’s “The People of the Lie.”  I suppose these capture my attention because something within me is adamant that there is corruption, there is death, and unredeemed mourning that has its way with people and the Church more than I would like to admit.  And it is subtle.  As I process my own disappointment with the Church I find that I have had a role in perpetuating it, myself, and I am on a journey of redemption along with her.  A journey where God *reveals.*  And this Revelation is adamant that evil exists. And if it does exist I am sure it is having very much the same horseback ride conversation about its rolling over  the Church.  But then I still need to wake up and finish off the movie.

“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of His grace–a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies–and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display His glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new….” excerpt from Isaiah 61 and the Scripture God has given me for this year