#2374 - Tuesday, January 24,
2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz
In this issue is an
article from Susan Dane's website: http://www.susandane.com. The article speaks about how to read
biblical scripture and could be applied to the reading of
anything you see on the Highlights. For example, this passage
from the article below makes a lot of sense: "Dont
bring your understanding to the page. Dont recognize
verses with a yep, yeah I know this one. You
actually dont. You arent the same person who read
that verse, even if you just read it 5 minutes ago! And until God
speaks to us, whatever we know about it is old hat. It has no
power to effect root change in our life." I've known Susan for 7 or 8 years. Susan's
teaching may be summarized in this nugget from her website:
POINTS OF THIS TEACHING
and systems lead us away from spirituality,
not toward it.
create reality. What is real is created by something
other than us.
is a way, but it does not lie within any
of our methods and systems.
This site is for
people who are tired of exciting inspirations that
sooner or later wear off. Tired is good. Tired is
where Spirit starts to live its life as us.
Please feel free to share this with a friend who
might be looking for inspiration
Here are some
thoughts on how to read a Scripture in a transformative way. I
hope you find them helpful. What we see on the page has so much
to do with how we read it.
most extensive studies have been in the King James Version of the
Bible, and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, I use this same
approach in everything that I read of substance, and it is
equally applicable to Scriptures of any denomination or teaching.
When we listen to a great symphony, we dont
talk at the same time. We dont have a running discourseWow,
listen to those trumpets. I just knew the violins would be this
beautiful. Theres that theme again. I remember the last
time I heard this symphony performed, Isnt that Mary-Annes
daughter on First Oboe? and on and on. If we do, we end
up missing the music!
Instead, we just listen. We leave our day
behind-- at the Symphonic Hall entrance, or at the first drop of
the conductors wandand we step into the world of the
Listening to Scripture is very similar. To hear
its voice, we need to meet scripture on its terms, not ours. This
means we have to stop translating it down into our minds
ideas about it, stop grasping it, getting it, manipulating it,
and applying it to all our problems, Like great music, Scripture
asks us to leave our day and all our problems at the door, and
instead, to come into the magical, wondrous world of Gods
making. When we do thiswhen we actually do thiswe
are surprised to discover that all those problems we thought were
-so-consuming, all those problems we were sure we had to take our
inspirations to, all the problems we thought we were responsible
for fixing--in the light of inspired vision they are changed,
diminished, gone, healed.
This is Gods
way of meeting the human need. When we yield, we dont need
to doctor. God doesnt fix. He erases.
Here are some specific suggestions on how to
listen to Scripture, and how to silence the great talker
who can rarely keep his or her mouth shut even when God Himself
is trying to speak to us!
Take it word by word. Literally! Sit with the first word before
you move on. Where are you going in such a hurry? Its
not as if youre going to get done with the Book. In
fact, if you can get done with it, this is a sure sign
that the book is not Scripture. We can never finish
the text.Work it through and through by
asking yourself questions, such as: (and you will find
a. Why does this verse start with
this word and not the next?
b. Why did the author add an and and another
clause? Why not just end the sentence?
c. Why does this verse follow the previous?
d. Why did the author even include it?
e. What is so vital about this word to the meaning of
this verse, or indispensable about this verse to the
meaning of this passage?
start asking these questions of the text, dont fill
in the answers. Wait! Sometimes Ive waited weeks for an
answer. I will take a verse and keep it in thought
throughout the day, questioning and listening for
something other than my own not so ingenious
mind to answer.
Dont move on until
you can answer these questions (and any others you are
led to ask) In what
other book would you read further without understanding
what you have just read? None! So why do it with the most
important books of allthe ones we are looking to,
to guide and define our life?
Dont bring your
understanding to the page. Dont recognize verses
with a yep, yeah I know this one. You
actually dont. You arent the same person who
read that verse, even if you just read it 5 minutes ago!
And until God speaks to us, whatever we know about it is
old hat. It has no power to effect root change in our
The object of our spiritual study is not to inform the
page with what we think it is saying, but rather to let
the page inform us.
Scripture is unique in its
capacity to always speak to us in the present, and to
meet our present needs.When we speak at
it with our past, we kill it. God doesnt need our help in
translating His vision to us! He does just fine without
If verses remind you of past inspirations, or the healing
your best friend had, or some inspiring article or
commentary you read about it, just thank your mind for
sharing. Then tell it to be a good student
and sit down and be quiet. You are waiting for the
teacher to speak.
Don't be too quick to
"get inspired." The quicker we
get that inspirational high, the more likely
it is just our own mind interpreting these revolutionary
words through the "same-old-same-old." If
something major hasnt shifted inside you, if youre
not shaken up, if your life isnt actually changed
in some way, then it is probably just more human insight
which will be stale by noon.
Do not try to apply the
verse to your problem (or your list of problems.)
Leave the list at the door. Let God do both the
interpeting AND the "applying." The more we let
the page inform us and the less we inform the page, the
more radical will be the evidence of Gods power in
our lives. You will be surprised to see what has happened
to the list when next you checkif you even remember
If it goes down easy, like
a favorite pop-song, this is a bad sign! Instead, wrestle
with the verse until it becomes a problem to you. The
wisdoms of the great seers who wrote these books upset
the apple-carts of those who heard them speak. They
should upset ours too!
Once we come to see what it
is we DONT understand, once we have found the
enigma within it, then we have found its core,--the
active ingredient so to speak--that can
change us at our root. Remember: The
words of the Biblical Prophets, the words of Jesus and
the Apostles, these created problems for the listeners.
People went away unhappy. They grumbled and mumbled and
got mad at how the words challenged them. They ended up
stoning the speakers, running them out of town, and
Since every tradition records this same kind of reaction
on the part of those who actually hear,
we should ask ourselves why we dont experience the
same? Why dont we get stirried up when we read our
Scripture, or only get stirred up occasionally? Is it
because we understand and have totally accepted the
implications of these words? Have we really surpassed the
likes of Peter, James, and John, for example? If so, do
our lives attest to their same full-time commitment and
In the case of Jesus, the only one who didnt have a
problem with his words was pretty much Jesus himself. Are
we right up there with Jesus? Or have we perhaps not even
heard him yetor not heard him at the level that
really counts? A tough question. One we shouldnt be
too quick to answer.
Remember: Dont try to
glide over the sticky parts of Scripture, in order to get
to the happy parts right awaythe parts
that make us feel good. If we dont
attempt to iron out Scripture so that everything makes
easy sense, but instead wrestle with the paradoxes (as
did Jacob with the angel who pulled his thigh out of
joint) then something might become equally
disjointed in us.
It is in this unhinging of our minds
interpretation that softens our hearts calluses and
allows Truth to penetrate beneath the surface.
This is spiritual rebirth and this is what we wantnot
just more inspirations to join the clatter
and the clutter of our mind, but the power of the
Word that alone can restore our heart, mind and
soul to their original innocence.