Yesterday I had a wild hair. Like a “didn’t sleep through the night/had bad dreams/then spent 16 hours hyper focusing on a project rather then do any work for money” type of wild hair.
I have mentioned before how sometimes when you begin working towards a new piece of something – art, writing or some such – you realize that there are certain things you cannot really say or do without stopping and figuring out some things within yourself and/or making changes to your life so what you say or do has the kind of weight to it that only comes when it arises from your life.
Not an ideal.
Not a thought.
But something you actually live.
So here I am doing three things at once. One, I am getting ready to finish the Demon (money or not, but the finishing funds would sure help). Two, I am getting ready to record and shoot ‘the Executioner’s Song,’ and three, I am starting to move forward on ‘the City of Love’ again.
I say all that but I have been spinning around because something was bothering me and I just couldn’t figure out what it was. Like…I couldn’t begin because something inside of me was missing.
Then I did the Shaman show about Leo Tolstoi and that planted this little wild seed in me.
Couple days of being grumpy and getting no sleep while my subconscious spun wild dreams and I woke up yesterday and knew exactly what I had to do without any understanding of why. 10 hours into the project, I understood.
So I woke up and it seemed wholly realistic and reasonable to edit the Bible. Not just the Bible, but the entire Anglican Book of Common Prayer. To make a long story short I have a side thing going on in which I need a copy of both. I do not have the kind of disposable income to galivant off to the bookstore and drop $50 on both books and have been making do with electronic versions on the crackberry.
But…there was a part of me that was very uncomfortable with the text. There are whole sections I would skip over or just ignore.
When I researched the Tolstoi show I found out that he had sort of made his own version of the Bible. Taking the parts that effected him most and shaped his beliefs and focusing on him. It was actually published and widely circulated as “Tolstoi’s Bible.”
And I started thinking…why not? I mean, my problem with the BCP and why I left the whole Episcopal Church before Ordination came down to my inability to reconcile faith with a corporation. My problem with the whole Bible thing has been that there is so many contradictions in it between books. And of course, the main complaint is that throughout history people have added to the texts of each to make them suit their purposes.
So I thought…what would happen if I started taking things out? What if, and these were my guidelines, I got all strict and sh*t and evaluated whether or not to keep things according to the ten commandments and then the beatitudes? Everything else had to go. If it was historically accepted that it was put together by a group of people it could stay as well, if it was attributed to one person or known to have been politically based it went (can you say ‘bye-bye Paulie).
Better still I found out that the BCP is majority in the public domain (except specific calendar parts) and it took seconds to find a KJV that was in the public domain as well. I am getting dangerous with this stuff. To give you an idea of where I started, the original combined file was over 5,000 pages long (I’ll tell you what I ended up with at the bottom).
I whacked every reference in the BCP to Nations, Churches, Kings and the blessing of Warfare (thou shalt not kill and thou shall have no other God before me).
I whacked all references to Baptism (I mean, how can one presume to baptize when it is a spiritual thing). Same with what it meant as far as the person being beholden to the Church first (alas, thus fell Confirmation). Holy Matrimony is mentioned briefly as being a corporate sacrament between two people but was dropped because it had nothing to do with any of the covenants which emphasize the individual responsibility and commitment to faith and service.
I kept the “prayers for the enemy” because they were so worded that they exhorted both sides to lay down their weapons and find peace. I had to let go of the prayers for the Armed Services as they sought triumph and blessing for warfare.
I cut all references to priests, bishops and deacons. Kept the idea that anybody can do any of this but that some are more inclined and those are the ones who will be ordained mostly as a showing that they are willing to be of service to others.
Oh, and the term “Church” was either struck or used only to represent the total idea of all humanity.
mmmmmm….once “church” was gone there was very little left to do as far as kiboshing the who concept of “us and only us.”
Then I through in a stand out copy of the Sermon on the Mount. Something that only tends to be used in parts and out of context in most Christian sects.
A copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
And what I termed “the applied books,” the books from the bible that were like..necessary reading to sort of understand the whole damn thing.
Deuteronomy – because it represents well the old covenant and it is an excellant sociological document on the common fears of man and how God attempted to address them on very base and physical levels.
Job – it is the penultimate story of the sanctification of struggle, hardship and faith (sanctification means finding meaning within your framework)
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes – Just plain good common sense and Wisdom
The Book of Matthew – a very intense version of the gospel that has not only proven to be one of the most complex to understand – making it an absolute study in human nature – but also revolves around the beatitudes.
10 hours into all this I started to notice something.
The beauty of the faith came out. Once you begin to eliminate the contradictions and get real, and really real fundamental about it with no excuses or asides, the nature of the message and its actions are graceful and all inclusive. And when I say all inclusive I am talking about all humanity no matter what they profess to believe or minority they fall into.
I, in total ignorance, went through a crash course about what I believe – about faith, life, humanity and the spirit in a way that I have never looked at so concisely and without apology.
I feel like..I am coming from a surer place to really work on these themes o’mine that deal with those things.
And I feel…centered and ready now.
I started with 5,000 pages.
I ended up with 377 pages.
I have called the final version, the Book of Common Rite.
I printed a copy for myself off lulu, after I play with it a bit and make sure I really have gotten everything…you know…I just might make it available.
c.2010 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.