Living religion

People tend to read what they want into religious texts. I want to read gratitude into them. Here is why.

I just read a fascinating interview with A.J. Jacobs, a “Jewish” agnostic who decided to live the bible quite literally for a year, then write a book about it.  Here are just a couple excerpts from the interview:

Trying to follow the Bible, you learn how much you sin during a day.  It’s really quite shocking.  You tell so many lies just trying to keep a conversation going….As a parent, I couldn’t believe how much I lied: “Oh, Oh, the toy store’s closed today, we can’t go there,” or, “The TV’s broken.”

Here’s another…

The bible is really focused on giving thanks, and that was a huge lesson for me.  By the end, I was an extreme thanker–I was thanking when the elevator came on time.  It’s a great way to live, to focus on the hundreds of things that go right during the day rather than the three or four things that went wrong.

Most of us read what we want to out of the Bible, or any other holy text.

Ever wonder why some Muslims will tell you that Islam is a religion of peace, while others commit atrocities in the name of Allah?  Don’t blame it on the holy text, but on what different people want to read from it.

Ever wonder why some people love Jesus, the “Prince of Peace”, while other teach their kids to fear God? Don’t blame it on the holy text, but on what different people want to read from it.

For my part, I like A.J. Jacobs’ approach.  Give thanks.  Feel the gratitude.  I can’t help but feel that this is the way God would like me to live, rather than wasting our days hating His other children. Most of us spend far too much time wishing for things we don’t have, and nowhere near enough time appreciating all that we do have.

I kind of think our lives are a bit like this Bible verse, Mark 6:41-43loaves and fishes

41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.

42 They all ate and were satisfied,

43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.

We have all we want.  We have all we need.  And if we would just be more appreciative, we would feel like we always have more than we need.





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