April 18, 2012

The B-I-B-L-E

Filed under: Children and Families,Stewardship of the Environment — by Lisa Meeder Turnbull @ 1:00 am

This year over the winter break, my daughter’s friends succeeded where I had consistently failed—the girl who would never do sleepover camp agreed to try a one-night stay at the Methodist camp a mile from our house. I was thrilled.

I was even more excited when the camp list included a Bible. One friend said she didn’t really need to take it, but it was on the list and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by. She was getting her own Bible.

That’s OK, Mom; I’ll just take one of yours.

No. I only have one Bible. My church gave it to me when I was in third grade. It’s my Bible and it’s not going to camp with you.

Then I’ll take one of your other Bibles. You have a bunch of them.

No I don’t. I only have that one. I’ve never wanted another Bible.

Mo-om! You have a lot of Bibles. Come here….. See!

Oh, those. Well, this one is my mother’s Bible. It was the only Bible I ever knew her to own. All the little papers she tucked into it over the years are still there. Here’s the rough draft of the letter she wrote to me on my first Christmas. I was just a few months old and she was in the hospital and didn’t know if she would live.

This one is Boppa’s Bible. My mother gave it to him as a Christmas present the first year they were married. See what she wrote in it? “that we may build a Christian home together.” When Daddy gets home, ask him to show you his Bible. I wrote the same thing in a Bible I gave him when we got married.

This one belonged to my grandmother, the one you are named after. Her church gave it to her when she was confirmed. I don’t touch it very much because the cover is rotting, but it’s still very precious.

It’s time for you to have a Bible. Put on your shoes and get in the car.

At our local Barnes and Noble, she heads for the science section and I stand alone in front of the Bibles. This was not the overwhelming selection that AJ Jacobs describes in the introduction to A Year of Living Biblically. Instead of 350 choices, I pretty much had three: The King James Bible, Catholic Edition; The Message; and the NRSV red letter edition. Sigh.

But there…tucked into the middle of a shelf…a flash of linen caught my eye. The Green Bible.

This NRSV translation features soy-based ink, post-consumer recycled paper, and a natural linen cover. A frontispiece features the Canticle of St. Francis of Assisi, and instead of red-letter words of Jesus, all of the passages related to creation, nature, and care of the environment are in green. The perfect Bible for the girl who writes “I ♥ Nature” and “Animals Rule” on everything she owns.

Camp came and went. Her friend was right; they didn’t need their Bibles. As we unpacked her bag, she handed it to me and told me that it could live in the office.

No, sweetie; it should go in your room. It’s your Bible. It goes on your shelves.

It’s OK, Mom. I would rather keep it in the office. You can use it if you want and I’ll know where it is.

It took me a while to realize that this wasn’t a rejection. It wasn’t that she didn’t want her Bible in her room. Her Bible was taking its place on the family shelf.

Maybe someday she’ll even read it.


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