Sunday, January 10, 2010

project 4:4: the first week and a bit

This little blog o' mine is getting famous.  I made the PV church bulletin (back page) and the front page (eek!) of PV's website in a list of folks who are blogging the project 4:4 experience.  Considering all I've done is tell a bit about the project, mention that I did the first day's reading, and link to some folks who are actually completing the assignment, I'm not sure I deserve the nod.  Today's post will be an attempt to live up to the hype.

First up, true confession time:  Last night I had to catch up on my reading because somehow two whole days just disappeared without my reading getting finished.  I was disappointed in myself for that.  I haven't found the perfect spot in my day for reading yet.  Mornings are tough, and while I like the idea and feel of closing my day with each day's reading, this week I've been staying up so late and pushing so hard, that I've been too worn to make it work.  If any of my imaginary readers want to share their best reading time, I'm all ears.  In the meantime, this week's priority is staying on track with daily reading.

In the first nine days of the study, we've covered twenty-three chapters of Genesis.  Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts from the week:
  • I thank God (really) that the Bible doesn't start with Numbers.  The Genesis account is fairly user-friendly.  I'm a person who's drawn to story, and I like beginnings.  I don't even mind the genealogies because it names all the players, plus the early Genesis genealogies act as time-lines with the ages of when they had sons and how many years they lived after.  

  • In the first 23 chapters, we've hit several of the big flannelgraph stories:  creation; serpent, fruit, sin; brothers and their keepers; the floody-floody; the babble at Babel; and a guy named Abraham.  Sometimes I like reading these stories and marveling at how much about them I didn't understand as a child.

  • But it's also easy (for me, at least) to read through these very familiar stories and not have a revelation or new insight.  The one thing I've been struck by every time I've read Genesis as an adult is how much isn't said.  I'm all about knowing full stories.  I like exposition and having the full story, and there are so many stories that leave me wanting more, like the mark of Cain (and while we're at it, who did Cain marry?), the Nephilim--read that one measly verse (6:4) and tell me you don't want to know more of that story, and lots more besides.  PV Blogger Keith Brenton (whose blog you should be reading instead of mine) has commented a few times already about the unvarnished narrative, which at least in parts, veers toward a facts-only kind of reporting when readers (or at least this reader) would really like a glimpse of the thoughts and emotions and motivations that are driving those facts.

  •  PV Blogger Steven Hovater (who has blogged even fewer words than me on project 4:4 so far this year, but who has far outstripped me in meaningful commentary) also observed the lack of story surrounding the Nephilim and Nimrod and summed it up so brilliantly that it completely put me in my place:  "the heroes aren't where the story is."

  • And new or old, and even without the all the details that would content my nosy heart, I can't read the story of Abraham and not be amazed and humbled and convicted by his faith, a faith that steps into the unknown and relies (mostly completely) on God for safety and prosperity, a faith that believes a promise that seems medically impossible and waits (mostly patiently) twenty-five years for its fruition, a faith that obeys even when obedience seems to mean losing that original, longed-for promise.  Abraham rocks my socks off.
So I'm thankful for beginnings and examples of faith and looking ahead to the fruition of the promise that saves me. 


  1. Nice post. I'm looking forward to stealing insights, questions, and lines from you PV bloggers as I'm preparing my OT survey class.

  2. Ditto on that stuff you said about Genesis. At Upper Park Academy, we've been studying Genesis along with the secular events that happened in ancient history. When Abraham left Ur, he was not just leaving some tent city in the desert to follow God as I had always pictured. Ur was a city in the Sumerian civilization. They were very advanced. Abraham left indoor plumbing to follow God--that's huge!!!!

    Can't help you on finding a time to read that works because I haven't found one. I'm haphazard at best.

  3. My advice on reading: I read while I walk and at various other random times of the day, any time I can get a few lines in really. So my Bible reading technique is to do my Bible reading before I let myself read anything else all day. It's pretty good motivation during the down chapters. And even the up ones when you're really busy.


what do you think?