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More Christian Greenery

September 25, 2008

I never thought I would post about environmental issues two posts in a row, but here goes. Ross @ .Ross linked to, and excerpted Michael Patton. That was a good post. Then he linked to another environmental post about Thomas Nelson’s “Green Bible”. At least that one only had recycled pages. Whatever. HarperOne is about to release its own green Bible (NRSV). It takes it to a whole new level. Its pages are recycled. Its cover is a sustainable cloth (cotton) fabric. The real problem is what is inside. Did you have a red letter Bible? You know the one. The words of Christ are written in red. This is a green letter Bible. The words about the environment are written in green. No, I am not making this up. I don’t know if I even could. Brandon O’Brien @ the Leadership Journal blog has written well about this. Here is an excerpt:

Before they make it to Genesis, Green Bible readers encounter an impressive roll of contributors, each offering a sermon or article on some aspect of creation care: “Reading the Bible through a Green Lens” and “Knowing Our Place on Earth: Learning Environmental Responsibility from the Old Testament” for example. There’s a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an introduction by Dr. Matthew Sleeth, poems by Francis of Assisi and Wendell Berry, and articles (mostly reprinted) by Brian McLaren, Barbara Brown Taylor, N. T. Wright, and the late Pope John Paul II, among others.

– – – – – – – – –

The selection of passages aside, I have two concerns with this method of highlighting biblical text. The first is this: the implicit argument in the green lettering is that by sheer bulk of words in green print, the editors prove that creation care is a central concern of the Bible. But what if we tried a different subject—say, violence. A faculty of editors color-codes a Bible so that every passage that references an act of violence is printed in purple ink. Would that, by sheer bulk, prove conclusively that violence is at the center of God’s plan of redemption? Or what about gold-lettering all the instances of sexual perversion? What I mean is this: frequency is not a compelling argument without context.

Do you see value in owning this Bible? What would be the major benefit of this Bible? How about drawbacks? Please comment and let me know what you think about this edition of the Bible.

  1. ross permalink

    yeah.. all that nearly made my head explode. Michael Patton’s post is right on.
    The world is groaning, awaiting redemption… not recycling.

  2. Brandon permalink

    Thanks for reading Out of Ur! Feel free to comment over there, if you like. By the way, I have family in Tyler, Texas. Small world. Blessings on your ministry.

    Brandon O’Brien

  3. Lisa@BlessedwithGrace permalink

    John, you crack me up. I actually had a bible that was highlighted in many different colors. Red for, you know, words from the Big Guy. Yellow, green, blue, purple ( was not for violence :O) ) Anyway, I actually really liked that bible. I hate that I don’t have it anymore. I had tons of notes scribbled in the margins. However, I gave it to my friend after she was saved, and didn’t have one of her own. So, it was put to good use. I hadn’t thought about that bible, in a while. Thanks for the memory. I am very sure that there was any sexual perversion or violence highlighted. :O)

  4. lana permalink

    I needed a good laugh… I honestly laughed out loud… really I did. I think I scared Kelly who was sitting right behind me.

    I appreciate those people who are trying to live more green… we have been doing that here at our house but this may be pushing it.

    On another note… I didn’t mean to freak everyone out… I’m voting for McCain. Lisa said you were concerned. I just did not want to do as so many do by not thinking about issues but voting strictly party line. I just wanted to really approach this election from a different point.

    Thanks for checking on me and NEVER worry about commenting. I can take it. 🙂

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