Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Two Favorite Stories From The Bible And My Favorite Non-Believer

My grandmother was a master storyteller. She had a third grade education, but I never really knew that fact until I was in high school. She used the bible as one of her main sources. She had me from the first biblical story she related. I loved the story of Joseph. It is one of the best stories of human forgiveness in the bible. I remember being frightened by Joseph's interpretations of the butler and the baker. I remember being inspired to forgive my cousins when they acted like brainless jerks just like Joseph forgave his brothers.

My absolute favorite story was the tale of Samson and Delilah. I learned from that story that you must always keep your agreements with God and not to take for granted the gifts he has given you. I also vowed to NEVER cut my hair. I did it once when I was in college and it was nothing but disaster until my hair grew back. I also loved when Samson kicked some serious butt with the jawbone of an ass.

My favorite biblical non-believer comes from the 1956 film version of The Ten Commandments. It is Yul Brynner as the Pharaoh Rameses. His place in this biblical-based movie is completely misplaced, sometimes completely wrong, but I don't care. The first time I saw this film with my ten-year-old eyes, I had no idea this was an "old film." I thought The Ten Commandments was a brand new movie. I knew enough of the bible by then to know that Moses was the hero of the story, but I could not help but love the Pharaoh. He had my favorite line - "So let it be written, so let it be done." It also didn't hurt that Yul Brynner was not hard on the eyes as Rameses.

Also, if never fails to crack me up when in the film the History of the World, Part I, in which legendary comedic actor Mel Brooks, playing Moses, comes down from the famous mountaintop with three tablets and shouts "I have here these fifteen commandments", when he suddenly drops and breaks the third tablet and he hastily adds, "Fifteen, er, ten commandments!" Kills me every time.

How about you? What are your two favorite stories from the bible and who is your favorite non-believer?


Faith March 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM  

We were discussing Old and New Testament use of numerology in my bible study class with the use of the numbers 12 -as with Tribes, the 40 day wandering the desert or Jesus being tested, etc. These numbers are symbolic. We've discussed numerology and astrology and how they've been subverted and categorized as 'pagan' but how it is in fact, not. Also how the role of women has been intentionally undermined.

focusedpurpose March 5, 2008 at 3:28 AM  

all the white folks images don't work for me. it doesn't make sense for black folks to continue to do this to themselves at this point.

"he who controls the image, controls the man" Ossie Davis

equality is not bestowed it is asserted. likewise freedom is not granted it is seized. we must put our own images closer to God. it is all related.

for what it is worth...


Esther March 5, 2008 at 5:28 AM  

My favourite two stories in the Bible is the Story of Esther and also the story of Rahab. However, I can mention most of all the stories in the Bible as my fav cause they all have a diffeent message and are all fascinating in their own way. Hmmm My favourite non believer would be the Pharoah's daughter just because she was chosen by God to raise and teach a great man (Moses).

wisdomteachesme March 5, 2008 at 11:08 AM  

whew, i have so many favorite stories....ester, vashti, the 2 women that were mid wives that helped moses, sussanna, oh my..these are just a few...i love nehemiah when he told those sellers to get away from the wall or he would come down and lay hands on them--LOL- and how he spoke truth to the 3 that were spewing evil while he org. the re-building of the wall...

hummmmmy favorite non-believer...saul/paul is one.
any non-believer that did not believe a woman would and could do what God had sent forth for them to do.

OH, those 10 of 12 spies that saw giants instead of faith in the promised land...i sometimes think they were sitting back saying=shoot--we should have trusted God! lol...

oh, and elijah and the 400 servants of baal! now that is too funny to me--i can just imagine their faces when God sent that fire down hahaha i bet they knew their end was upon them...

good questions prof!
have a great day today! and know that God loves you and is pleased with you!
Yea, Amen!

Professor Tracey March 5, 2008 at 11:26 AM  

Well Focused Purpose, I hear you, but that wasn't my point. Unless you completely dismissing completely the stories from the bible as false, the images don't matter. When I was child, it never crossed my mind about the possible "race" of the characters from the bible.

That's the problem with focusing on race all the time, you lose the substance of things. If you believe folks from the bible are black, then great, the majority of the world, including tons of black folk will never believe that. And it doesn't really matter.

I only hope that people learn from the important messages that are in the bible and worry less about images. In fact, black folk struggle mightly to embrace the present day black heroes they can see everyday, to spend time trying to get them to see their own "image" in the bible would be a task for Hercules.

I greatly appreciate your thoughts though. I know that it is made with love for black folks.

wisdomteachesme March 5, 2008 at 4:17 PM  

Prof., if i may, jews come in many shades and tints of skin color just as blacks, brazilians, cubans, and egyptions to name a few.....
yes there were blacks in the times of the bible-of course there were...but NO, not everyone should be colored black in the bible--that makes no sense at all.

this is a mistake many people make by focusing on color/pride and other negatives = whites make the assumption that everyone was anglo white...and so on...

as prof said, getting the message that God and Jesus was teaching the people is the point. a lot of people think mother mary was in her 20's or 30s when the angel of God came to her...nope-she was about 13 or 14 yrs old.
You have to know Hebrew/Jewish culture to understand their ways.

and i will say this, jesus was not a light fair skinned man with blond hair and blue eyes.
you have to go back and look at the way Jews looked at that time--their bone structure, hair textures, and build of their bodies to see they did not come from any european country.
they are jews-not europeans.

i would wager that Jesus really had a rounder face-very curly hair-a broad nose and was probably shorter than most people picture Him as.

when hollywood gets a hold of any historical fact they always go for the selling factor with the public--not the truths-(this is in general)

Also, if i may-many of the paintings that we all have seen in the bible, museums, class books or anywhere, must be taken with common sense--if you are looking at a painting based on biblical scripture--look at the ethnicity of the artist that painted it--if he is flemish--then the people in the painting may depict a biblical story--but they will look flemish--same if the artist is italian--the people look like the people did at the time the artist was living--they had no way to know what biblical characters actually looked
liked. so they used models of what they knew--the people they see walking around outside of their windows-in their own families. shoot depending on the artist and the benefactor for him/her...the characters may look like the members of the medici family or whatever king was on the throne--as they were very vain and pompous and controlling of the land.
and had many aritsts put their faces on the bodies of the characters from the bible.
you have to understand that these artists as artists do today-- are inspired by the Holy Spirit-by their love of God, or may have just been paid to do these types of paintings--inspired by whatever to re-create the images described in the bible...but they had no more of an idea of what the people ACTUALLY looked like than we do now.

but with computer programs that are around now--a person can punch in the general aspects of a jewish face-put in the time era-and poof! you get an idea of what people looked like back then...the same way they take a caveman skull and recreate a face that shows us what they 'probably' looked like.

this is a shorten version of the teaching i would use in the classroom - hope this helps...

focusedpurpose March 7, 2008 at 4:32 AM  

hi Professor Tracey-

i am a Christian. i do believe in the bible. in parts. i believe that like everything else it has been tampered with, whitened, and used to justify pretty much every ugly thing that can be done on earth. those preaching white supremacy and Christ strike me as devilish. so i study to show myself approved...

i don't know if you recall when the movie starring Blair Underwood as Jesus came out? i recall vividly watching the Donahue show as a young person and listening to the white women moan about what depicting Jesus as a white man would do to the psyches of their children. (psyche is defined as the "human soul, spirit, or mind"- protecting it is crucial)

only black people will say that the images don't matter. ever wonder why we don't see black cops accidentally shooting white citizens reaching for their wallets or cell phones? or brothers taking their rage into white neighborhoods to murder, rape and wreak mayhem as they do with those that look like them? i think it is fear and a greater respect for those that they place closer to God. it is all related. that is all that i am saying.

if color didn't matter, the push to whiten the inhabitants of ancient Egypt down to knocking off noses to enable the whitening wouldn't happen.

yes, you are correct,quite a few black people worship white images; which might explain why quite a few black people are out of their gourds. this fact is evidenced by everyday non-stop occurences.

i regularly and routinely reject "the program". when i see it where ever i see it, rejection is the muscle i have developed and will automaticly exercise. it was knee jerk, however, i did not miss your point.

i am not saying that all biblical characters were black. i am saying they were people of color, as evidenced by descriptions and geographical locations in the bible. while we are on the subject, it is also on purpose that Judas is routinely depicted as the black guy.

i love black people and want to see us healed. our healing is routinely thwarted by our refusal to acknowledge and root out the consistent thing in the thing. the lies. we won't even call them lies. we like "myth"...wt..?

i love the stories of Queen Esther and Tamar, they are great stories of strength and wisdom. i like King Herod for not going for the okey doke and refusing to bow to pressure. he was like, oh no---its all you Pilate.

i enjoy your blog and will be back tomorrow time permitting. i love the quotes. i am a quote addict:-)


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