Monday, July 04, 2011

Judges 1 with my children...

I was an idealist in high school.  Read the book before you watch the movie.  Start the book at the beginning and read through to the end.  Anything worth doing is worth doing right.  Read it in the original language.  Don't use the Cliff Notes.  Pray an hour a day.  Read through the Bible every year (equals about 3-4 chapters a day).

The problem is that I had a very short attention span (it has steadily gotten better as I've gotten older and my metabolism has slowed down).  I wish I could go back in time and share with my younger self the coping strategies I've developed:  Some is better than none.  Even if you only read a page of something a day you'll end up reading a lot over time.  If you fail today, forget it and continue tomorrow.  You don't have to pray or read the Bible for any particular amount of time, and it's not the end of the earth if you don't get it done every day.  Reading it in English--or in the Cliff Notes--is better than not reading anything at all.  You might be able to follow and get into the book better if you've seen the movie.  If you can't motivate yourself to read the uninteresting bits, skip to a part that does interest you.  You can even read the chapters of a book backward.  You don't have to finish a book--the first and last chapter often give you 80% of the pay off.

So I use the "little by little" principle with my youngest two.  In a perfect world, I would say 5 minutes worth of something about something every day.  Today we started Judges 1.  Why?

First, it's arguably some of the most interesting reading in the Bible.  Not the most edifying, of course, but interesting.  Second, it is about the same time as the beginnings of "Western" history (which, admittedly, is a construct rather than a reality--it's real because it's the way Europeans tell their story).  The Trojan War is about the same time in the late Bronze Age.

Judges 1 alludes to the pains of "Bronze Age" Israel struggling with "Iron Age" Philistines, so there's a little science in there.  Judges is quite straightforward about the fact that the tribes of Israel lived among the Canaanites at this time.  It gives a good picture of the culture of the day.  It's definitely Rated R, and it raises all sorts of great ethical and political questions.

Anyway, I thought it turned out to be a really neat convergence.


Matthew Crowe said...

Well said. As a young idealist, I needed to hear that. Thanks.

Robert said...

Judges 1 says that they couldn't drive out the plains people because they had iron chariots, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the Israelites didn't have iron, merely that they didn't have chariots. They were the main battle tank of the time, expensive, and the plains were their natural territory. So maybe it's not surprising the hill people couldn't beat them!

Ken Schenck said...

Do you know whether they have found iron materials in the hill country during this period? I'm sure it would be easy to find out. Maybe you know?