Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Reader's Diary #57- Exodus (up to Ch. 22)

It's getting increasingly difficult to read the Bible as a novel, as I have set out to do- primarily because I've been trying to look it at as another piece of literature not as... well, as the Bible. I think the biggest barrier is my practice of looking for symbolism, metaphors and the like in other books that I read. If I do that with the Bible, I'm getting into theology territory and I didn't want to do that this time around. But if I don't do that I'm not reading it as I would a novel. A catch-22?

It's also getting increasingly difficult to write about the Bible as a novel. Not that I don't have plenty to say, it's just that I'm trying very hard not to offend anyone. That's not my intention- I've no interest in being an antagonist, especially over matters people care so strongly about. So I'll add the disclaimer that people are still free to voice their opinions and that I suggest simply turning away if something really rubs you the wrong way.

In my last posting I mentioned how comic book superheroes have similarities with Moses and the book of Exodus. I'm not trying to make light of the Bible, it's just that it reiterates a point I made earlier: it's such a familiar book because one can find so many similarities in these stories with so much in today's world. Since I last wrote, I have started to find similarities with God and more contemporary characters. Take the Godfather for instance. I think Puzo was hinting more at man's desire for God's power and influence rather than the "birth sponsor" definition. And it's not just literary characters that I see connections with. It's seems that many others aim for God-like in their quest for power. I'm sure everyone's familiar with doctors and their "God complexes", but with Exodus I see more of a connection to rock stars and God. And no, no, no I'm not saying that Clapton is God or anything that'll get me accused of blasphemy, but the story of God's demands to Moses and the Israelites, ex. "your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year" and so on, made me think of rock stars and their often over-the-top riders. I'm not saying that God's request that the Israelites eat unleavened bread for seven days is as unreasonable as Van Halen asking that the brown M & M's be removed but I'm saying that God has become the ultimate symbol of power and as such, the closer people get to believing in their own superiority, the closer they try to act like Him. The difference (like I need to point this out) is that while the rock star's motives are painfully clear (ego boost), God's are not. Despite any attempts to find character building of God in Exodus, He becomes more of an enigma.


Christina said...

"Despite any attempts to find character building of God in Exodus, He becomes more of an enigma."

...that's because you're reading the Bible as a novel ;)

John Mutford said...

As I've hoped to make clear, I acknowledge that reading the Bible as a novel is an extremely difficult task- one that I'm not sure I'm up to, and one that I'm not even sure is possible.

That said, the fact that I find God enigmatic in Exodus is not a problem I have. I appreciate the mystery.

Christina said...

You have made yourself clear, John. I was teasing a little.

I appreciate the "new eyes" point of view. Since I grew up on these stories, it's a different way for me to think about it. I don't find it offensive; simply a fresh way of exploring a text that is so familiar (sometimes overly so) to so many people.

I also appreciate the mystery of God. Just when I think I know Him, He reveals how beyond human comprehension He is. (not just in the book of Exodus!)

I enjoy reading your blog, John. You have a great, rhythmic style of writing your opinion and it makes for a really interesting read.


John Mutford said...

Hi Chris,
I'm glad you appreciate my outlook- I appreciate your views as well. I'm a little overly paranoid with offending people to whom this book means so much, so I'll come across overly apologetic at times. I did, btw, know you were teasing a little- the ;) gave you away. I've always found you open to discussions.