Our pastor forwards an email each week called "Wired Word" that takes current events and wraps a series of discussion points for Sunday School discussion around them. Honestly, I usually don't read them. Not because they're not "relevant" (which is the whole point of the program, obviously). I am just not into that kind of thing. And I don't go to Sunday School anyway - I can bite my tongue and keep my lips pursed tightly shut all by myself, no need to do it in a roomful of people, especially since honestly the pastor uses most of the allotted "discussion time" for him to talk - consider it a second sermon for free, a two-for-one special. I could
rant write a whole other post about the group dynamics I've observed the few times Les and I have tried to participate in such things at the church, but that's for another time.
But this week's email topic caught my eye and ended up really bothering me. And yet the thing that bothered me was not one of the approved "discussion points" at the end. Here's a snippet - see if you can tell what bugged me:
OK, pens down. What's the answer? What got to me? Anybody?
Publisher's Road Trip Will Yield Handwritten Bible
In the News
In observance of the 30th anniversary of its New International Version of the Bible (NIV), its publisher Zondervan is launching a road trip across America to invite Americans to participate in creating a handwritten copy of the Bible.
The Bible has 31,173 verses, and Zondervan's goal is to have each one written in longhand by a different person. A photo facsimile of the handwritten verses will then be published in time for Christmas 2009, complete with an index listing the participants' names and the verses they copied.
Launched September 30, the tour is taking place in a large RV. Two young married couples are sharing the space and the responsibilities as that vehicle visits 90 cities in 44 states. At each stop, they will give out index cards with Bible verses printed on them to 500 people. These people will then copy their assigned verse twice onto special paper, creating two sets of originals. One will be bound and offered to the Smithsonian. The other will be auctioned to benefit the International Bible Society, which holds the NIV copyright and is a co-sponsor of the tour.
Although most verses will be copied by ordinary citizens, certain high-profile individuals, including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, both of the current presidential candidates and their running mates and evangelist Billy Graham have also agreed to copy a verse.
More on this story may be found at these links:
It was this: "complete with an index listing the participants' names and the verses they copied." Followed by this: "Although most verses will be copied by ordinary citizens, certain high-profile individuals, including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, both of the current presidential candidates and their running mates and evangelist Billy Graham have also agreed to copy a verse."
Jesus Christ! [I shout that as a prayer, not an expletive, although they sound exactly the same.] We are so fucked up as a society that we can't even publish a Bible without making it an exercise in ego-fulfillment and celebrity. I flashed on all those centuries of anonymous scribes keeping the Word alive, toiling entire lifetimes to copy the Bible. Where is the index listing of their names and the verses they copied?
Why let "ordinary citizens" have a hand in it at all? Who's gonna care about their names listed in the back other than a few relatives? And why do only the above sons of Caesar get verses to copy? I bet the thing would sell better and make more money if the project were converted into "The Celebrities NIV Bible™®© 2009 - All Rights Reserved". I would then look forward to seeing what verse Lindsay Lohan or Joel Osteen (ooh! ooh! Matthew 21:12!) or Senator Ted Stevens transcribed. Think of the rich potential for irony. I wonder if they'll parcel out the Beatitudes to the president, vice president and current candidates?
I am actually sickened and saddened by this project. The Bible as publicity stunt. Way to go, Zondervan!