A Tale of Two Bibles

This morning I woke up around two thirty after having a dream, which I wrote down:

I dreamt that a young man came to see me, with two gifts. They were both Bibles. We chatted a bit about how much he enjoyed my website and my writing, and so wanted to give me a Bible as a token of appreciation.

I smiled and opened the first box. In it was a gorgeous hardcover edition of the New American Standard Bible. I oohed and aahed over it and mentioned how happy I was with it, since I had the NASB electronically but didn’t have a hard copy. Then he gave me the second Bible, saying I might like it better. It was also a nice hardcover edition, this time of the Revised English Bible. Again I fussed over it, and mentioned that I didn’t have this particular translation.

As I opened these gifts, I asked him if he had ever felt called to ministry. He said that at one time he did entertain the possibility of such a vocation, but decided against it, since it was a time when he had fallen away from God and was caught in sin. In fact, the idea of a “vocation” had helped him to get closer to God.

We chatted a bit more, and he kept pressing me to make a choice between the Bibles. I said that, really, I liked them both. He offered to take one back and re-wrap it for me, since I would probably want to re-gift it to someone else at some point. I looked at him, and said, “Your dad put you up to this, right? He’s trying to figure out if I’m a liberal or a conservative, by which translation of the Bible I’d pick. Only I’m foiling the plan because I want them both.” He blushed slightly. I laughed. “It’s okay. I’ll be happy to give him back one of these Bibles, but tell him we’ll need to talk first.” With that I took both gifts.

As he was leaving, I said, “I just have one thought for you. The fact that you felt far away from God is not a sign that you didn’t have a call. Keep this in mind: it is not the absence of sin that defines a call to ministry, but rather the presence of repentance.”

Venus, the Moon, and Jupiter, from Stone Mountain, GA, about 6:25 AM, 8/13/12

Then when I woke up at six, I went for a walk, and saw the loveliest alignment of Venus, the Moon, and Jupiter, all in a line in the east sky above the glow of the soon-to-be-rising sun. I snapped a picture and of course it’s only iPhone quality, but hopefully it will give you a glimpse of the celestial beauty. Jupiter (least visible in the snapshot) is a barely-visible dot near the top of the image, just right of center; Venus is just beneath the moon in the center of the shot. Of course, the sun’s glow is at the bottom (along with the top of a neighborly tree). I didn’t see any meteors (the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower was just this past weekend) but I feel blessed enough with this lovely good morning kiss from the heavens.

A Dream in Light and Dark
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me, a Pinner
Go Ask Alice
My Loveliest Dream
  • Carl McColman

    Dear readers, remember the original meaning of “repentance”: metanoia, or a change in consciousness. See Nonduality in the Bible … and us for a discussion of this and other matters that will aid in interpreting my dream.

  • http://meridagoround.com Eric Chaffee

    The night sky display which you saw awoke me at 4:30 Saturday as it peered into a tiny dormer window in our farmhouse. There were four lights; and without my glasses I couldn’t discern what was shining into my consciousness. So I arose and went out onto the back deck utterly naked, first finding my glasses — well maybe not utterly. It was a stunning sight to behold in a totally cloudless sky. Venus at the bottom. A partial crescent moon at top. Two smaller lights (stars?) left and right. I wish I had taken a picture. The skies have been cloudy the last two nights.

    I dressed and stayed up to prepare for morning Bible study with friends, before going to prison, where I volunteer, to conduct another one for inmates.


  • http://meridagoround.com Eric Chaffee

    PS: the best Bible to read is the one in which is open or at hand. And all of them invite us to read between the lines, rather than merely reading the words. (The Living Word resides between the lines!) ~eric.

  • http://weddingsbyrevlaureen.com Rev. Laureen Batsford

    Thanks so much for your early morning shot, along with the dream of two Bibles. I find it fascinating since I have many versions and tend to refer to them all at different times. And when I visited a thrift store over the weekend, I picked up yet another one I didn’t have: The Good News Bible – Catholic Study Edition. Never can have too many, I always say! :)


    Rev. Laureen

  • http://www.Yeshua21.com Wayne Ferguson

    Lovely, Carl…

  • Scotty Greene

    Thank you both… Or is it all three: Carl for the presence of mind and gifts of remembering a dream enough to share it beautifully. Steve Jobs for the “miracle” of the iPhone. God, for the grace that made both.

  • Peter Byl

    Thanks for the beautiful shot.Also,I am from Australia so please excuse my ignorance but which one would read the N.A.S.B. and which the R.E.B. and why? Just curious really.

    Peter Byl

    • Carl McColman

      I would say the NASB is the more conservative translation, the REB the more liberal. But the NASB is probably not as conservative as the NKJV, while the REB is not as liberal as the NRSV. So there you go. :-)

      • Lillian

        So is the Message Bible liberal or just whimpy? the NASB used to be my standby, but I’ve been using the Message Bible for a year now, for a new viewpoint. BTW, my dreams have never been that logical.

        • Carl McColman

          That’s hard to say, Lilian. I would guess The Message to be fairly middle of the road theologically. Of course, many would argue that because it is a paraphrase, it should only be read for devotional use, and not for serious study. But like you say, it offers a new viewpoint, and I believe it can be a fascinating study in how to bring the conversation of faith down to the level of the real world. Incidentally, a new edition of The Message that will include the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books is in the works. The publisher asked me to read and comment on some of the new translations; so I’m eager to see the final product (I think they’re hoping for a fall 2012 release).

          • Scotty Greene

            I am enjoying your thumbnail, categorical tour of different bibles. As a late coming regular reader of the Book(aside mainly from quoted passages by other writers and in church) and an an incoming, new MTS student please place the Catholic Jerusalem (bought thru you at the Monastery store)and the revised(New) St. James Bibles in the context of this discussion. Thanks, sg

          • Carl McColman

            The St Joseph’s Edition of the New American Bible Revised Edition, I assume you mean. That is the “official” Bible from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, so of course it represents the mainstream of current Catholic scholarship, and I think we can safely call it a fairly conservative translation. The New Jerusalem Bible I’m not as familiar with, but since it is the heir of the original Jerusalem Bible, translated during the Vatican II era, I suppose we can consider it a bit more liberal-leaning than the NABRE. But it is still approved for personal devotional use by the Bishops, so it’s not as liberal as some translations out there (like the Inclusive Bible).