Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lenten Contest

Moving on, I have decided to have a Lenten contest on this blog. This time, the winner will receive a brand new copy of Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection from Ignatius Press. The book is free, as well as the shipping.

Here are the rules:

1) If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your site. (If you don't, you can still enter the contest.)

2) This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. (Again, overseas shipping costs are a bit too high for me right now. Sorry.)

3) The question you need to answer in the comment box:
What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?

(All responses should be limited to two-four sentences, so be concise.)

4) The contest ends on Saturday at 11:59PM EST.

5) One entry per person.

6) I will announce the winner in the comment box on Sunday or Monday. The winner can then email me their address.


Dennis said...

The Book of Sirach. An odd choice, but it was the first book of the Bible I ever read completely. The wisdom of the author spoke simply and deeply to me.

Theophrastus said...

I already have a copy of the Pope's new book, so this entry is for the glory only (I am competing for an honorable mention, but not for the prize!) And since I am not competing for a prize, I decided to ignore the 4 sentence requirement; my entry contains 8 sentences!

J. G. Frazer, the author of The Golden Bough, once commented on the universal cliche that the Bible is a masterpiece of literature: "That our current English version of the Bible is one of greatest classics in the language is admitted by all in theory, but few appear to treat it as such in practice." The great exception to this rule is the book of Job; no book in the Bible is more difficult or more mysterious. It is by far the most literary example (and linguistically sophisticated example) of Ancient Hebrew, containing more rare words and unique examples of morphology and syntax. The divine speeches in the book are difficult as well, from the friendly wager between the satan in the opening of the book to the difficult and horrifying speech by God in chapters 38-41. The central theme of the book, the problem of evil, is perhaps the issue that most challenges all people of faith. The characters of the book are finely characterized: Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu, God, and the satan. In no other book of the Bible are there as many nuanced and complex points of view; in no other book of the Bible do we such Shakespearean characterization of the different actors with unique motivations and points of view. At the end, the Book of Job does not admit of an easy reaction -- it is a book that demands interaction by the reader; full thought by the reader.

losabio said...

The Book of Proverbs was where I started my practice of studying the Bible daily. I was familiar with the Gospels from Mass, and had tried to read the Apocalypse as a teenager, but when I felt the compulsion as an adult to read the Bible, I started in Proverbs. So much of the story of salvation seems to be alien and far removed from our modern lives, but in Proverbs you see that the author dealt with the same struggles that we all have (in relationships, career/finance, family life, etc.) and has left for us a treasury of wisdom that gives us advice for living a right life. This connection I felt with the wise king, helped me to better connect with the people in the rest of the Bible; I was more able to put myself in their shoes (or sandals).

Anonymous said...

The Book of Tobit was pretty much the first book of the Bible I really read all the way through, and I took it to heart. I loved this book so much, most escpecially the relationship of a devoted son, Tobias, to his father, that I knew from this moment on my first-born son would be named after him. Well that day finally came, and now my son, like Tobit's son, both share the name Tobias.

Tena Belsom said...

My favorite book of the bible is the Book of James. I like it because it's a little instruction book for life. It clearly gets straight to the point(s)!

Christopher W. Speaks said...

Win or lose, I'm thankful for this contest as it's given me a chance to reflect and consider how the Bible has been a life preserver for my ever-struggling faith, and I don't just say that to sound humble or pious because I'm the furthest thing from both virtues. With that:

The older I get, the more Truth I find in the book of Qoholeth, who I regard as the first Jewish bodhisattva who preached the Tao of Life. I have lived this book since the day I was born, long before I could ever read, and will continue to live it until the day I die, though I may never read its pages again. And when that day comes, I can think of no better eulogy than to have Qoholeth remind those who survive me of some basic Truths: namely, despite all the good things in life, these things as all things, including all living beings, are transient and do not bring satisfaction; only death is certain yet nonetheless random; and the answer to this instability and transience is to seize the day, not let life slip by unnoticed, living in some fog while chasing the wind. Some say Qoholeth was a depressed cynic and others say he was a pessimistic atheist, but I recognize in Qoholeth’s words the truth about the Divine: he isn’t absent, no, but is simply beyond all.

Tim, I know I'd definitely be interested in hearing about your favorite book and why.

Stephen said...

for me it would have to be one of the four Gospels. Tough for me to imagine something that I would ever like better than one of the Gospels. Sooo....I debated (with myself) whether it would be John or Matthew and ultimately, if I had to be pinned to just one - the choice is Matthew. A gripping story about the life and teachings of Christ; Never tire of reading it - you find something new in there every time; Teaches us how we should live and reminds us of His sacrifice and endless love.

Hieronymopolis said...

Of all the wonderful books in our God-breathed Bible the First Epistle of the Fishermen is preeminent ; for our Lord Jesus Christ appointed Simon Peter His Vicar (as Saint Matthew in the catalogue of the Apostles, calls him Primus, the first, and all antiquity, Princeps Apostolorum, the Prince of the Apostles.)

And it was in Rome, the new sancta latina Ierusalem, that the holy Ghost inspired the first Pontiff to write his first Encyclical to the “elect strangers of the dispersion”, meaning God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church dispersed throughout the whole earth until the end of time.

And it is here in this lofty letter that the Rock upon whom the Church was built and Captain of the Universal Ark of Salvation, whose bold confession of the Son of the Living God merited him to receive the keys of binding and loosing : first defines the incredible dogma of Christ’s descent into hell, and commands us with the authority of the holy Ghost to be obedient subjects to higher Powers, and mellifluously exhorts us to make our soul’s chaste in holy fear, armed with charity and humility that we might stand up to our Adversary the Devil who goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

This unsurpassed Epistola Catholica, especially sanctified by the blood of it’s martyred author, is proof positive that a Pope fallen from grace by his public denial of Christ, through penance, can mend the harm he has done, and speak once more with the living voice of Christ.

Timothy said...

Winner of the contest: Losabio

Thanks for all the wonderful entries.

Losabio, please email me your address and I will get the book right out to you.

mccorm45 (at) yahoo (dot) com

losabio said...

Thank you, Tim!

Christopher W. Speaks said...

Congratulations, Losabio!

Tim, where is your submission??

Timothy said...


As you requested (Although I will not abide by my 4 sentence rule!):

My favorite book of the Bible is the Gospel of John. While that may seem like an easy choice, at least for me, it was (and remains) an important book for my spiritual growth. About a decade ago, I was not much of a practicing Catholic, but through various conversion experiences I came to accept the call of Christ (and His Church) in a more profound way. One of the most enlightening aspects of this journey has been my reading of John. Up until that point of my life, I had spend almost no time in the Bible, yet when I started to read the Gospel of John I was just floored at what Jesus was saying and doing. Most of what I knew about Jesus was from hearing the synoptics read at Mass, but John was different. I felt then, as I do now, that John provides us a privaledged peek into the heart of Jesus in a more tender and profound way. In the Gospel of John, Jesus weeps, speaks intimately with our Heavenly Father, gives us His mother, and reveals the reality of the Eucharist. These were things that touched my heart back then and continues to do so today.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

Thanks for sharing, Tim. It's really interesting to read everyone's favorites. I'm especially surprised by how many people chose the Wisdom books of the OT - myself included - and how few people chose one of the four Gospels.

Steven said...

Dear Tim,

Wow, this is hard. I have at least three and depending on circumstances each gains ascendancy: Jonah, Philippians, Revelation.

Jonah because it shows the depth of God's love and concern from the earliest time in the very simplest terms. "You mourn for a bean plant, but these, my people who cannot tell their right hands from their left. . ."

Philippians because it is insistent upon joy--complete joy. And Paul seems to be at high brightest and best. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Revelation because through all of the bizarre, strange, frightening, and phantasmagoric imagery one word comes through--all of this passes and at the end is the New Jerusalem--the transfigured life. It is a book of eternal hope and eternal brightness. It is a poet's book.

Thanks for asking. This was really neat.