The “Bible in Five Statements” Meme

Angharad Wyvern AKA Yewtree over at the dance of the elements has tagged me with this impossible task. It’s called “The Bible in Five Statements” challenge:

Summarise the Bible in five statements, the first one word long, the second two, the third three, the fourth four and the last five words long. Or possibly you could do this in descending order. Tag five people.

Ay yi yi.

Okay, but only because I don’t know how to say “no” to memes, and this one, if nothing else, is quite a puzzler. And also because I’m looking forward to inflicting it on my five victims. Disclaimer: this is nothing more than a snapshot of where I happen to be at the moment. Check back with me next year, next month, next week, or even later this afternoon, and I’m sure I will come up with entirely different responses.

To summarize the Bible in five statements…

  1. Interruption
  2. God story
  3. Sacred myth evolving
  4. Transformational mystery expressed textually
  5. Western wisdom source, often misunderstood

Yewtree mused on the challenge of this exercise so eloquently that I’m just going to quote her:

What aspect of this multivalent text to focus on? The liberal or the conservative interpretation? Western Christianity or Eastern Orthodoxy? A Kabbalistic or esoteric interpretation? The Arian and Unitarian views? Changing human perceptions of the divine – from tribal thunder god to all-embracing universal consciousness? How notions of justice changed from tribal codes apparently dictated from the top of Mount Sinai towards concepts of compassion and inner conscience (starting with Micah and Amos, and later promoted by Yeshua)? Very tricky to summarise all that in 15 words…

Yup. That pretty nicely summarizes the craziness of this exercise.
So I am tagging Mike Morrell, Fencing Bear, Darrell Grizzle, Episcopalifem, and the Girl Who Cried Epiphany. But there are others I’d like to hear from, so even if you’re not on this list, please wrestle with this knotty problem and share your offerings with me, here on this blog. You all know that I’m a lame slacker when it comes to reading other peoples’ blogs, so please, post your thoughts here. I know that’s an irritating thing for me to say and an annoying request for me to make… but try to just embrace it as an interruption to your day…

What Has Not Yet Been Revealed
Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Mysticism and the Divine Feminine: An Interview with Mirabai Starr
In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • episcopalifem

    Ooooo! Goody!

    Let me give this some thought Carl. I’m traveling today and tomorrow, but I will have time in the car to think on it. I’ll definitely play!

    Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!

  • zoecarnate

    Wow – this is a tough one, and I’m pretty sure I can’t touch yours. Lemme see what I can do though…

  • Carl McColman

    Don’t worry about touching mine. I think the beauty of this meme is that endless wonders can be squeezed out of our various sets of 15 words. The Grateful Dead used to sing, “Let your life proceed by its own design,” so in that spirit, let your five statements unfold in their own way.

  • Chris

    We bolted.
    God chases us.
    Painful gift: we embrace.
    Baby steps at His side.

  • Fencing Bear

    Historically true.
    Names the Creator.
    Love flows through it.
    More than we can understand.

  • girlwhocriedepiphany

    Carl, You’ve called me back! I have been away from blogging ever since I learned I was pregnant and all priorities realigned themselves. But, now our baby girl is five weeks old and it may be time to return to this rich exchange of ideas. Thanks and blessings, Marisa

  • mike

    Such Grace
    Fallen from Above
    In search of Gnosis
    In the name of Love

  • phil foster

    Love lost
    Love sought by us
    Love comes to us
    Love lives in us forever

  • phil foster

    OK, so that was 16, not 15. Drop forever, if you like.

  • Carl McColman

    Phil, bless you, your problem is that you have two four word statements. So we need to edit down your third statement “Love sought by us” to three words. To keep the integrity of your thought, I’d recommend changing “Love sought by us” to “We seek love” — not only does it get you to the correct (!) wordcount, but also nukes the passive voice. If you want to be poetic and keep each phrase beginning with the word “Love,” then cast it as “Love we seek.”

    All this is to say that I have no desire to drop forever. I’m an eternalist, through and through. :-)

  • phil foster

    I never could follow instructions.

  • Dennis Barr

    We must always know where to start…

    God’s creation
    God’s people rebel
    God’s people’s rebellion persists
    God overcomes rebellion with Love

  • episcopalifem

    Finally got mine up…they are no where near as good as those here, and, it took me ages to think of what I wanted to say! Thanks for inviting me to play!