Tuesday’s Thoughts: Close Reading

I'm reading the Bible through again but art journaling and writing poetry inspired by what I'm reading.  I'm also trying to do a close reading.  Close reading, according to Duke Divinity School is:

A close reading involves a careful balance of argument and evidence, all centered rigorously on the text at hand. Like biblical exegesis, a close reading begins with a careful study of what the text actually says, word by word and line by line.

I think it also involves putting preconceived notions away for a while.  For my reading, I do that.  For my poetry, I sometimes borrow notions from other places.  I did that today to delve into the symbolism of a tree that is cut down.  Going through Job has me putting away the notion of the perfect Job and the imperfect friends.  For now.  We'll see what comes up as I travel through it.  I hope you enjoy today's offering.

Job 12-15

Trees facing the axe
"Timber" rings
New shoots will be born

Jesse's tree is cut
Roots are torn
Sheol holds us all

A Kelly Lune Duo (5-3-5 pattern)

Most of today's reading is Job ranting and raging. He says some odd things about God...
-You even write bitter things about me (13:26)

I don't know what was happening, but apparently, news was traveling fast. But most of all, the whole verse is this:

You even write bitter things about me
make me inherit my youthful indiscretions.

There is no appreciable difference to this verse across English translations. I read this and totally thought of Kavanaugh. Being made to account for his "youthful indiscretions." I wonder what Job was actually guilty of? He even goes on to say "You now number my steps and would not keep a record of my sin" (14:16) and "My rebellion is sealed in a bag" (14:17). OK. Didn't someone say Job was faultless? blameless? of high integrity? From Job's own lips, he is not.
Eliphaz cements this with "What are humans that they might be pure...and innocent?" (15:14)

Re-reading with fresh eyes, I'm not unconvinced that God isn't pulling a fast one on ha-Satan. He didn't give him a pure, righteous dude. He gave him a very human one. Full of foibles and faults.

Maybe a leadership lens might ask us to question the perfect. There is a phrase "Don't let the good be the enemy of the perfect." And it's true. A perfect person, perfect plan, perfect program ... they don't exist. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can do.

#biblejournaling #bible #biblepoetry #job#job12_15 #kellylune #lunes #lune#leadershipmatters #poetry #leadership#leaders #haiku #biblehaiku #leaders

2 comments

  1. jrcowles said on October 2, 2018
    “A close reading involves a careful balance of argument and evidence, all centered rigorously on the text at hand. Like biblical exegesis, a close reading begins with a careful study of what the text actually says, word by word and line by line.“ This sounds uncannily like the late Justice Scalia speaking of the US Constitution.
    1. Terri said on October 2, 2018
      That may be, but the meaning making (my poem) doesn't stop with just the words on the page. Although, for English Bible readers, I'd be happy if they just got curious about the words on the pages of their Bibles and did some research into word meanings, etc. Maybe it would crack open the metaphor for them.

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