So, did you think I’m reading a steamy r*mance n*vel now? [that last phrase before I put the *s got me an unwanted incoming link–is this why I see people put strange characters in the middle of certain words?! Does anybody know how to block a link like that?] Actually, I can’t stand that genre. I’m just not into thinking up a more creative post title at the moment, and this is what popped into my mind.
I’m referring to an audio Bible called The Bible Experience. For some time now, I’ve seen this in a prominently placed display at the Christian bookstore, which guaranteed that I would avoid it with a ten foot pole. I have this rather irrational aversion to whatever is “the rage” at any given time. (Actually there is some rationality behind the aversion and maybe even a grain of wisdom, but that doesn’t mean that it is either wise or rational to judge something on that basis alone.)
In spite of my aversion, for some reason which I cannot now recall, I clicked on a link with a video about the making of The Bible Experience. It was amazing and I was (of course) deeply moved by what I saw and heard. I’ve never heard Scripture read with such life and passion. Many of the readers were actors and actresses and although the final form is audio only, on the “How it Was Made” video, I could see some of the readers’ actions–they physically got into what they were reading. The result is stunning.
I followed some other links and discovered that I could listen to samples from a few books of the Bible as well as download the Christmas story and the Easter story for free from Audible. In addition, I decided to purchase the book of Psalms for $3.99 (a great price, I thought, for over five hours of reading). And, wow, am I glad I did.
Zondervan’s marketing still annoys me, and the long list of celebrity names among the entirely African-American cast does not impress me (I hardly ever watch movies and don’t even recognize most of the names.) What impresses me is the beautiful and alive interpretation of the Scripture that each reader gives.
The African American community in general (and I’m aware that generalizations are just that) is comfortable with an emotional expression of faith, which I do not often see or hear in my own cultural tradition. And this audio dramatization of the Psalms pulsates with emotional expression. The Psalms are read by different readers, and many of the readers are women. As I listen, it is not like I’m hearing the Psalms just as something someone else has said a long time ago. But the ways the emotions burst forth resonates with me, and I FEEL the cry of the Psalmist as if it is my own (and very often it is).
I am listening through the book of Psalms as I fall asleep at night. When I have a few minutes in the morning as well, I love to turn the reading on and lay back down and worship the Lord with the Psalmist, joining my heart with the full range of emotions in the words and in the readers’ interpretation of them. Sometimes at night before they go to bed, my kids will sit and listen with me as well.
One of the producers said that this project is, ‘‘a gift from our community to the world to be shared and appreciated by all.’’ And so I say, “Thank you. You have touched and ministered to my heart in a beautiful and powerful way. In a way that affects my life and lets the words of God impact me on many levels and in new places of my heart.”
I think this was the best $3.99 investment I made this Christmas season.