Two Spiritual Book Reviews

September 28, 2021

The Spirit awakens us to what lies hidden within-sometimes gently, sometimes with a jolt, but always so God can work with our conscious consent to free us for growth. ~ Marjorie Thompson

Sometimes I review books for a spiritual reading group called Speakeasy.  I really enjoy it!  Today I am going to review two books: Beautiful Word Bible and I Am Sophia.

"Beautiful Word" Bible

The Beautiful Word Bible really is beautiful and I absolutely loved it when I first started it, but then I realized that I had become too spoiled by The Inclusive Bible to settle with an NIV translation.  The language is so sexist and homophobic.  And then all the verses about being a slave to Christ, to God-I just couldn't take it and gave up!  I will have to look up to see if The Inclusive Bible has the same slave-language verses in the New Testament.  I reject language telling slaves to obey their masters and I reject language saying that I am a slave to anything.  I will not even say that I am a slave to Love, because the language just does not make sense.  Slaves have no choice-they must do what their master commands.  But my God does not command me what to do-instead, we investigate our possibilities in life together.  How can scripture liberate others and yet tell a person to relate to slavery as a "slave to God?" There is no love there in that type of relationship.  Later, the Bible says that we "are bought with a price," and I reject that language too.  I reject language that compares people to objects.  I reject scripture that supports colonialism, capitalism, sexism, or homophobia.  It took the Beautiful Word Bible to make me see that even beautiful pictures cannot hide problematic translations.  If you are not a language snob, then I suggest this Bible-it really is very satisfying to look at.  However, for me that was just not enough, so I now have another Bible to add to my art collection.  (Yes, I do use Bibles for my black-out poetry!). The Beautiful Word Bible had me questioning if I still consider myself a Christian-I think I am, but just not the type that is satisfied with that particular type of translation, and that is ok. I think questions are good, so I am actually still very appreciative for the insight reading parts of it gave me.

I Am Sophia by J.F. Alexander.  This book I do truly recommend.  While reading it, I kept switching between thinking the metaphors were too obvious to finding them very original.  It is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel about a woman named Sophia who inspires people during what seems to be Christianity's last days.  The prayers are beautiful and I love the focus on Sophia.  Here in the American South, people tend to focus more on their relationship with Christ, but that does not appeal as much to me as a relationship with Sophia.  The book did not end the way I wanted it to, but I think I am glad because it made the book more complex than if everything was just tied up in a bow.  I tend to want happy endings because I want to pretend that life is happier, but life is messy, and this book reminds us of that.  This book is of a rare quality because immediately after finishing it, I wanted to read it again!  I feel like there was a lot that I did not absorb just because I was too eager to see how it ended.

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