Category Archives: From the Editor

Just for fun- building the Bible from Legos

Brick Testament

The Holy Ghost drives Jesus into the wilderness.
The Brick Testament

The Bible has inspired countless artistic endeavors throughout the centuries, but few are as oddly amusing as The Brick Testament. The site illustrates over 400 Bible stories from Genesis to Revelation, using only LEGO® building blocks. The stories are thoughtfully labeled N, S, V, and C to allow those who might be offended by nudity, sexual content, violence or cursing to avoid them (though it must be said that their translation into the Lego world does tone them down greatly)

Take a look at the story of Solomon asking for wisdom in 1 Kings 3 (the Old Testament reading for this coming Sunday).

All this is a project by the Reverend Brendan Powell Smith, who describes himself as “not an ordained member of any earthly church, and widely regarded as being both highly presumptuous and extremely vain.”

And, lest you doubt that all this can be accomplished without extensive modification of standard Lego pieces, he assures us that “Everything but the background sky is indeed built out of LEGO brand building blocks. There are a few select instances where Rev. Smith has resorted to modifying LEGO pieces with a hobby knife or permanent ink marker, but the vast majority of everything you see in The Brick Testament are unaltered LEGO parts from sets that date from the 1960s up to the present day. ”

As you browse through the stories at The Brick Testament, what do you learn about them that you did not notice before? How do you find the stories changed by the demands of using building blocks to tell them? If you have access to blocks of your own, you might try telling a favorite story of your own.

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Hunting down a quote . . .

TCLC - Twentieth Century  Literary Criticism

TCLC – Twentieth Century
Literary Criticism
(Photo credit: CCAC North Library)

The other day in the daily message I get from “Seasons for Nonviolence,” I found this thought-provoking quote:

No two persons read the same book.

It seemed a pithy summation of a fundamental understanding of reading and interpretation that we share at BibleWorkbench. It is true of reading any book, and perhaps even more true when we read religious texts like the Bible. It’s one reason that we encourage group study of the texts, with opportunity for participants to share their insights- the Bible they have read- and hear from others about their reading. Continue reading

Changes at the Educational Center

If you haven’t seen it, the April newsletter for the Educational Center (publisher of BibleWorkbench) is available on the Educational Center website.

The Educational Center

The big news is that there is a new Executive Director of Operations at the Center, Becky Rizzo. Board Chair Tillie Tice writes:

I am pleased to announce Becky Rizzo as the new Executive Director of Operations for The Educational Center. Becky’s responsibilities will include general management of all functions of the organization. Most specifically her charges are to: increase the visibility of the organization; promote the work of the Center; strengthen our financial position; and help formalize our fundraising effectiveness. Continue reading

Methodists write the Bible

Bible ScribeA news item notes that more than 30,000 people in the United Kingdom celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible by hand-copying the text of the New Revised Standard Version. The collection was presented to the Annual Methodist Conference in England this week.

They had no lack of participants-

One scriptorium, located outside London’s Westminster Central Hall, attracted so many people that participants were limited to writing one word per verse of the New Revised Standard Version, the Bible chosen for the initiative. Contributions were made in several languages, including English, Chinese, and Welsh, as well as in Braille.

One church leader noted that it was a way of deepening the encounter with the text and people had to slow down to writing speed.

You can read the full article here.

What difference do you imagine it would make in how you read the Bible if you were to copy portions out in your own hand?

It’s not just the math . . .

One of the Judgment Day billboards

You might have been aware of the stir that was created around Harold Camping’s prediction that last Saturday, May 22, would be Judgment Day, according to Harold’s lifelong study of the Bible. His organization, Family Radio, based in Oakland, not far from my own home, financed thousands of billboards across the US and in foreign countries, as well as several caravans traveling in  special vans with “Judgment Day, May 22, 2011” painted on the sides.

Responses to the announcement ranged from the bemused and skeptical to the outraged. And now that the date has passed without evidence of cataclysm, the amusement has turned to scorn and ridicule.

I have been particularly interested in the responses given to Camping by many Christians. They quote Mark 13:32:  “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” to argue that calculating the date for Judgment Day is inappropriate and futile. However, they remain convinced that the Bible “predicts” such a Day, which will include cataclysmic events and the destruction of the Earth. Continue reading