Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who Knew Acts Was So Fabulous?

A few years ago when I tried to read the Book of Acts, I literally slogged through it. In the immortal words of J.D.Salinger, it was like dragging the Statue of Liberty across the dance floor. I would read a few verses, yawn, and take a nap. All those characters. All that crazy supernatural stuff. All those gruesome martyrdoms. Pentecost. Totally nuts. Better to rent "Quadrophenia" than try to fathom the meaning of this nutso stuff.

Last night I opened Acts again and was riveted from the first chapter. It was absolutely cinematic! Way past bedtime I sat there propped against my pillows, finger in my mouth, following along in wonder and awe (of the "oh man, this is tripped out!" variety) and falling in love with some characters (Stephen!) while being totally baffled by others ("I just baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch, I think I'll transmogrify into space now! BEEP BEEP BEEP..."). What the HELL is that story about the early Christians who fake out the community on the price of their house and then fall down and die? And why didn't I see how totally dramatic Saul's entrance is into the story of the martyrdom of Stephen? You can practically here the villain music break out the first time his name is mentioned. Oh, this is hot-t.

So anyway, as soon as I get my hymns chosen for Sunday tonight I'm going to get into bed with Acts. This is My Sexy Life, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here. God can't find me a man so he made the Bible really great bedtime reading for me. It's one of those very small, local miracles you never hear much about, like when people bury tiny plastic statues of St. Jude upside down in their lawn and their house sells within a week.


Anonymous anniesmom said...

We bury St. Joseph, not St. Jude, in the back yard. Even deep-in-the-Bible Belt Southern Baptist physicians bury St. Joe when trying to sell. And it works, too.

Blogger boyinthebands said...

I love Acts.

Remember, it is Anaias and Sapphira, not Anaias and Sephora.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the way they're totally trying to make up how to keep following Christ in Acts. And what do they do at the outset, in the midst of flummoxdom? Have an election!

Acts is also very useful-- particularly along with Galatians-- to help churches understand that disagreement and strenuous, emotional argument have been with the church from the get-go.

Have you enjoyed the book of Judges lately? I like it a lot. It's like falling down a very long, dark hole.

(You've already heard that it's Joseph (carpenters) and not Jude (impossible causes), so I just endorse that one.)

Thanks for allowing anonymous comments these days, BTW! As a livejournal person I've been loath to apply for a blogger account just to comment on your psots. :D

Mary Ann

Blogger Quotidian Grace said...

Acts is one of my favorite books to teach because the Holy Spirit is its protagonist.And maybe also because I love history.

Christians today can be encouraged by the fact that Peter, Paul and James couldn't always get along and yet the faith continued to spread and thrive.

And yes, the supernatural stuff is pretty riveting, too!

Anonymous Dan said...

OK, I gotta know... did you read Acts in the RSV the first time round, and in some other translation now? No, really, I have a serious reason for asking. I could never get through the NT until college when an evangelical Quaker gave me a copy of the NIV, and suddenly the whole thing made sense to me and I could read it. Was it just me growing up? Did the spirit move me suddenly? Or was it that that translation worked better for me? I think the latter, because I still go back to the NIV when I really want to make sense of something. (Sometimes I think there's a good reason for all the translations we have.) And I've always wondered if other people had similar experiences....

Blogger Ron said...

And when you read it back to back with its volume one, Luke. Oh my God!

Blogger PeaceBang said...

But why did Anaias and Sephora have to DIE?
(Now she'll always be Sephora to me)
Dan, I have to think about that. I think it may have been the NIV that brought it alive, come to think of it...
what a great thing to check!

Blogger Sun Warrior said...

I find Acts refreshing. All the chaos. No one really knowing what to do. Just this crazy spirituality going on with so few reference points for people to grab onto.

Hmmm... how can we do that again? No. We would lose too many people. Look at poor Peter... told he's the leader but given no instruction manual. He's paid the price ever since, lol!


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