Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What Makes a Difference

For those of you who know me personally, know that I absolutely love to read, and it's what get me through the many shifts at work...

I've been reading a lot online about books that have inspired famous people, from movie starts to scientist, be the people they are today. Now while I am by no means famous, I think a true reader is molded by the books they read. And since I've been suffering from writers' block lately, I thought over the next few days I would share a few books that have made me who I am today...and those that push me toward tomorrow.

#1 The Gospel of Matthew

I chose this Gospel because saying "the Bible" is one's favorite book is too trite and too broad. I leave aside questions of my own faith, which I consider a private matter, for clearly the book stands on its own as a piece of literature, philosophy, and a means of understanding our culture.

I never read the Bible as a child, and before I did I expected that it would be full of hell fire, and brimstone. This notion had only been reinforced by hearing one angry person after another claim to represent all Christians, as they wagged and pounded the Bible. Reading the Bible opened my eyes to the fact that any hateful person could not represent this faith. This book is beautiful and exquisitely written - but it characterized by one quality that covers every page - love.

Beyond giving me a way to question the beliefs molding those affirming "tax cut for the rich" by invoking "the eye of a needle" and "a rich man," reading the Bible made it harder for me to accept its being used to spread damaging propaganda and small-minded beliefs in the name of "Christian values."

In the Book of Matthew, those values sound like this: "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven...Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy....Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."

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