Gospel Marathon

It’s Friday right now for me.  You’re probably reading this on Tuesday or sometime after because I’m practicing a rare form of time-travel telepathy.  You see, without actually talking to you, I’m managing to communicate my thoughts to the version of you that exists in the future.  HA!  I’m brilliant!

Anyways, writing tonight was not planned.  I’m writing because I feel compelled to write.  Usually, I stick to my schedule pretty strictly, but things have been happening in my head for the past week or so that I can’t ignore.

Tonight, I had the privilege of spending time with an AMAZING friend.  I’ve known Donna Brenda since I was about 19 years old.  During the time we’ve been friends, she’s been a role model, shoulder, encourager, entertainer, benefactor & blessing.

On this lovely summer night, we caught up on recent life events (though I admit that she let me monopolize the conversation because I’m egocentric).  We fed chickens (she & her hubby have 4 that will eventually lay yummy eggs, which I think is the coolest thing EVER), shared a meal, & viewed an AMAZING movie: The Book of Eli. The movie is about the power of God and, in particular, the power of His Holy Bible. It displays a number of things it takes to genuinely & authentically follow God.  It is a GREAT movie & you should watch it.

So… things have been stirring in me for awhile now (since long before tonight when I viewed The Book of Eli), & I’m not sure when I got the idea, but I REALLY want to throw what I’m calling a Gospel Marathon.

During my junior year in college, I had to take some really difficult literature classes.  One of them required me to do an unbelievable amount of REALLY TAXING reading.  We covered Beowulf, Judith (Biblical Narrative), Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, The Canterbury Tales, The Vision of Piers Plowman, Julian of Norwich, The Book of Margery Kempe, The Second Shepherd’s Play, Everyman, The Faerie Queen, The Defense of Poesy, Doctor Faustus, Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1 – 152), Volpone, The Duchess of Malfi, The Temple, and finally, Paradise Lost. And for those of you who can’t tell, ALL of those works are written in Yoda-style English & are ridiculously long.  That being said, I read all of them (plus background information on all of the authors & time periods) in one semester.  I worked really hard in that class & I still ended up earning a ‘C.’  It sucked. I even showed up for all of the extra credit events, including the Milton Marathon…

WHICH brings us to the wondrous things that are currently going on in my mind.

The Milton Marathon is a crazy event that my professor cooked up awhile back (you can read about it from the U of A website here).  Basically what happens is that a bunch of people get together & read Paradise Lost out loud FOREVER (really, it lasts about 12 hours).  They do this “to celebrate Milton’s achievement and to pay tribute to the enduring relevance of poetry.”

QUESTION: Why don’t we celebrate & pay tribute to the word of God this way?

I brought the idea of a gospel marathon up at my Bible study last week to the sounds of uncomfortable fidgeting & crickets.  You’d think a Bible study would be the perfect place to kick off an event like this.  Evidently not.  I LOVE my Bible study & the people who attend, but I think it’s important to reflect on the negative reactions I received.

MY BIASED INTERPRETATION OF WHAT HAPPENED:

Katie: So I have this AWESOME idea that I think we should all run with (PUN ALERT : Run… Marathon… aren’t I clever?).  Have any of you gone to the Milton Marathon?

Everyone Else: No.  What’s that?

Katie: Well, the U of A hosts this thing every year where people get together & read all of Paradise Lost out loud.  I think we should do that with the Bible.

Christian #1: The whole Bible?

Katie: I don’t know.  Probably just a few books, but we don’t really have to figure it out now.

Crickets:  Chirp.  Chirp.  Chirp.

Christian #2: I should like reading the Bible more, but I just don’t.

Crickets:  Chirp.  Chirp.  Chirp.

Thoughts of All (Complete speculation):  We should probably read the Bible more.  I should probably read the Bible more.  How long would we do this for?  It sounds kinda boring.  We should do this.  Maybe I can suffer through a day of this.  I don’t really want to do it, though.  I have too many things going on in my life right now.  I read the Bible enough – certainly more than most people.  It’s awkward that no one is talking.

Crickets:  Chirp.  Chirp.

Christian # 3 introduces a new, lighter topic.

I don’t really care what everyone else decides.  I’m going to do this.  I’m going to offer my bedroom up for an entire Friday evening & I’m going to celebrate & pay tribute by reading the Bible out loud.  If no one comes, I will take turns with James Earl Jones (because I have this amazing collection of CDs on which he reads the entire New Testament.  YESSSSS!) and we will read all four of the gospels.  I don’t know or care how long it will take.  The venue will be my bedroom, because there’s something entirely biblical about people crowding around in a small, homey space to read about God.

In The Book of Eli, there is a point when Denzel Washington’s character describes a time when people forgot what was precious.  They threw away things that people in the (fictional) present time & place would have killed each other for.  In fact, some characters in the movie killed to try to obtain power & control by having the only Bible left on Earth.  Other characters killed to protect the Bible.  I’m looking over at my shelf right now & there are 4 Bibles that just sit there.  One of them has 4 distinct translations in it, & it benefits no one.  It is one of those precious things that I’ve forgotten about.

So, I invite you all to take one day out of your summer, & remember.

COME ONE & COME ALL TO THE FIRST ANNUAL GOSPEL MARATHON

DATE: FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010

LOCATION: KATIE’S BEDROOM

TIME: 7:00 pm

RSVP: APPRECIATED, BUT NOT NECESSARY.

*I haven’t decided about food yet.  I may provide some simple snacks like loaves of French Bread, cheese, & water.

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