I’ll tell you a great relieving feeling of my life. It comes from stories non-straight friends have shared, as well as stories from non-straight people I’ve read. They tell me of being raised in a mostly straight world, expected to be straight.
Everyone’s story is unique, but several have shared of realizing they never were straight. They may have gone through the motions and even felt it at times, but they never were.
That experience resonates with my being raised in a predominantly religious world, expected to be religious. I had to go to Jewish day school every school day from kindergarten through sixth grade, then Sunday school for years later, was brought to synagogue many Saturdays and holidays, and was forced to participate in holiday events at home. After my mom remarried, we also put up Christmas trees and stockings, painted and hunted Easter eggs, and other Christian holiday traditions.
I never believed in the supernatural. I may have gone through the motions and felt it at times, but never was. I think Christopher Hitchens called forcing religion on a child too young to consent abuse. I wouldn’t go so far, but I understand where he (or whoever said it) is coming from.
My not appreciating the supernatural being imposed on me doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate consenting adults enjoying it. However much I’ve forgotten about Judaism, I learned plenty, I think enough to understand the appeal to many people who practice it or identify with it even if they don’t practice it.
Living in a predominantly Christian nation, I mostly learned about that religion through it permeating my culture all the time. My sustainability leadership work has led to long, meaningful conversations with evangelicals. I realized I’ve barely read their Bible, despite hearing it quoted or alluded to weekly to daily. You can hear my conversations with some on the podcast:
- Michael Carlino
- Eric Metaxas
- Brent Suter
- Jonathan Hardesty
- Colonel Mark Read
- Scott Hardin-Nieri
- Doctor Reverend Ambrose Carroll, senior
- Blake Haxton
I’ve learned a lot of Buddhism through my several ten-day silent Vipassana retreats, and many more shorter ones. I’ve meditated every other day for years. I recently read Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh. But I haven’t researched Christianity as much.
I want to understand my community and neighbors better so I started reading the Christian Bible. Or more accurately, listening to it, there being no shortage of people who recorded spoken versions online. I’m still following my commitment this year not to have a screen on while I eat, but I’m allowing listening with the screen off.
It’s a lot more accessible than the Torah. I decided to post the parts I’ve listened to here. I’ll keep adding to it so if you come to this post long after its posting day, you’ll probably see the full series of videos. I’m not endorsing nor recommending nor discouraging. I’m just documenting one of my projects. In some ways, I’m surprised I didn’t read or listen to it before.
I’m not listening in order. I’ve asked for recommendations to start, not having known much of its structure at the time, and I couldn’t help jumping to Revelation. Now I’m seeing that structure. I’m curious how King James or other versions sound. So far, I can see why people read and listen to it many times. I’ve also watched a bunch of commentaries and read many Wikipedia pages.
Edit: keeping going
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