Sunday Musings: The Word of Promise
Last year, I decided to really up my audiobook challenge game when I discovered the celebrity audio drama, Word of Promise. This is the complete reading of the New King James Version Bible by a red carpet list of celebrities.
It should be noted that the majority of the actors performing this masterpiece are white, unlike The Bible Experience, which is mostly narrated by actors of colour. The discovery of the existence of the latter caused me some distress as I fussed over which version to get, Bible so White? Or Bible So Black? Both feature a powerful cast, but in the end, I had to go with who had the better God. Sorry Pastor Paul Adafarasin, but you just can’t compete with Terence Stamp. Also, your name has the word “sin” in it, so that can’t be good. And really, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God happens to rhyme with Zod.
Oh, I should probably pause here to add a disclaimer: if you’re easily offended by um, well, a bit of blasphemy, most often in GIF form and loose translations, then you might want to part company here.
My experience with the Bible and Christianity comes mainly from my mother, who was a devout Christian. I had to go to church every Sunday, even though Sunday School was really boring, and when I was in my early teens, she added Our Daily Bread and related Bible passages to our nightly reading time. When I was younger, we’d read from an illustrated Bible, which was not nearly as cool as this Action Bible.
After a while, I started pretending to fall asleep. I was not a very good actress though. When I kept doing that on Sunday mornings, she finally said that I was old enough to decide whether or not I wanted to go to church and if I did, I would get up on my own. I don’t think she was happy when I rolled over and snuggled under the covers, guilt-free decision made. But here I am, rolling through 2016 with the word of the lord in my ear.
The first step in this process was speeding it all up to 3x speed, and maybe skip a few things here and there. I love you, Michael York, but not enough to listen to the entire lineage of who begat whom. After that, it was all about sitting back and discovering that everything I’d learned about the Bible was carefully organized propaganda. This was most notable in the story of Moses, who was narrated excellently by Richard Dreyfus. Turns out, poor Pharaoh wasn’t happy about the Jews leaving Egypt, but he was perfectly willing to let those people go early on. But alas, God had scripted a 10-episode mini series and he was determined to see it through. Every time Pharaoh was ready to usher the Jews out of town, God would “harden Pharaoh’s heart.” There are all sorts of Bible studies that explain this, but frankly, can I really be upset with Pharaoh for his frustrations?
Pharaoh: Wow this blood water thing really sucks. Okay your God is pretty good. I’ll let you go.
God: NOOO I have frogs next! *Jedi hand wave*
Pharaoh: No, I won’t let your people go.
Pharaoh: *crying* I want to let you go but idk why I keep changing my mind after I say yes
God: But the fliiiiiies
Aaron: *Jedi hand wave*
Pharaoh: *sigh* No, I won’t let you go.
And then God visited similar frustrations upon Moses, whose utter exasperation with both God and the Jews is expertly portrayed by Dreyfus. Watching The Ten Commandments every Easter and reading all these stories, I had never viewed these events from these perspectives, but The Word of Promise made it all real, sounds effects, music, shirt rending, and all.
Then there’s all that misogyny. Like that time the guy told the guys who were going to beat him up to take his woman instead and so they chopped her up into little pieces and he was all, “cool, thanks for not killing me. This kinda sucks though because who’s gonna cook for me?” (That’s paraphrased).
On the plus side, I now know how to build a tabernacle for the Lord thanks to several chapters detailing inch by inch what is necessary. There was some confusion, I learned, thanks to translations that include badger skin versus dolphin skin as part of the interior decorating, but as long as God’s ornate curtains looked good, I think it would work out. This would make for a great home improvement show. Unfortunately, my home construction plans lean towards building a tiny house, not a tabernacle.
I had hoped to get through all 90 hours of this during the year, but, despite stellar performances by all, including James Caveziel, reprising his role as Jesus (actually, his Jesus sounded like he was high), I couldn’t make it beyond the Psalms, with a hop, skip, and a jump into the New Testament to check out Jim’s Jesus. I am not disappointed that I didn’t make it all the way through. I am happy with what I learned along the way. And I would like to thank Tiara for accompanying me on my journey. She is one of those people who’s actually read the bible with a far more discerning eye than I ever have, so her insight and encouragement and GIF suggestions were very important to me. As was her acknowledgement of my findings.
Me: “Circumcise the foreskin of your hearts.” That is today’s motto. The bible makes circumcision sound so easy. “Just make a flint and slice that thing off. You can wear it around your neck as a necklace. It’s cool. Walk it off.”
Me: Did… did Joshua just curb stomp some kings?
Tiara: Joshua probably did just curb stomp some things.
Me: He said put your feet on the necks of the kings. Then he struck them and killed them. But I am going to reinterpret this as “Joshua instructed his men to curb stomp the kings, then hang them up as warning to any other bitches who want to mess with God’s people.” My version of the bible involves the word “bitches” a lot.
Me: When they go into tents to be with someone in *that special way* then you hear tent flaps and porn music. Okay maybe not the last part. That might just be in my head.
Me: “And Moses spoke to His people from Mount Whore” lol I’m sure that’s how it’s spelled.
Tiara: Horeb. Whore. Close enough.
Tiara: Random side note. I talked to J. He’s been having a rough time […] I said you’d read the Bible to honor his hardships, that all verses dedicated to anguish and ripped clothes will honor his adulting. […] You’re pretty much my good deed. My friend Wendy will read the Bible for your troubles.
Me: TELL HIM ABOUT THE HILL OF FORESKINS!
I’m pretty sure that this defies my mother’s hopes for me… but I’m okay with that.