It's hard to get a sense of it reading, say, the old King James Version of the Bible, but Jesus was at times a funny guy and God has a wonderful sense of humor.
And now we have a funny paraphrase of the Bible in which humor, absurdity and irony reign. It's called The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters of Less, by Jana Riess, an author who blogs for Religion News Service.
It is irreverent without being sacrilegious, sarcastic without being despairing, clever without being too clever by half.
What I don't like about this book (besides the grammatical error in the subtitle, which uses "Less" instead of "Fewer,") is that I didn't think of it first. Doh.
Can anyone really boil each chapter of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament to 140 or fewer characters? Well, not really, unless in a light way you're trying to get people interested in reading the original again, which I think may be part of Riess's purpose.
Want a few examples of what she does? OK. Here's the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John:
JC uses his own saliva to heal a man born blind, so the first thing the guy sees is a stranger spitting on him. Hello, cruel world.
Bet you never thought of it that way, huh?
How about the famous Christmas story in Luke 2?
"Ma'am, the rooms are full at Bethlehem Inn, but there's a rustic barn out back that is quite charming. And the hay is complimentary."
And here's Matthew 5, home of the Beatitudes:
JC's Greatest Hits include "Beatitudes," "You Are Salt," and "Don't Even Think about Adultery or You've Already Committed It."
She also gives brief overviews of each book of the Bible. Here's the one for the lusty Song of Solomon: "The original sexting. Keeping youth group kids exposed to soft porn for approximately 2,300 years and counting. NC-17."
In addition, there are quite a few one-page commentaries of various topics covered in the Bible, each worth a read.
From Genesis 1, which begins, "After 6 days of creation, G's totally wiped. Day off tomorrow!" to the final chapter in Revelation, which begins, "Bible ends with G opening a fruit-of-the-month club and restoring Eden," this is both a fun read and one that will open your hearts to an understanding of religious metaphor.
If you don't have time to read all of the above, here's my 140-character review: "The Twible: This is speedfaithing in an age of annoying literalism that cuts to heart of Scripture and reveals Scripture with a heart." (And for you literalists, that was only 136 characters.)
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AN INTERFAITH KC AWARD
Sam, a southern white boy who served for decades as the pastor of a predominantly black church, St. Mark Union of Kansas City, has spent his life protesting injustice, preaching justice and helping people be fully human.
Besides which, now that he's retired and catching his breath, he's a pretty fair golfer.
(The link I've given you for the church is not the congregation's official website, which seems not to work.)