I am in possession of three Bibles. Four if you count The Book of Mormon, which I do not.
The first was sent to my mother by the State of California after her elderly cousin passed away while under their care. “Cousin Gloria” loved animals (elephants in particular) but couldn’t stand most people. She smoked unfiltered cigarettes and lived on a diet of cookies and soda. She was obese, diabetic and towards the end, violent. Mother tried, Gloria didn’t. And so when she stated her intention to leave all of her estate (including land in Hawaii) to the Elephant Assistance League, Mother threw up her hands in defeat.
This Bible was given to Cousin Gloria in 1935 by “Grandma” which would have been my great grandmother. It’s the smallest of the three bibles, only about the size of my hand. In Deuteronomy there’s a pressed leaf of some sort. I have no idea what, if any, significance it had to her.
In Job there are what remains of Tweedy, Cousin Gloria’s beloved parakeet who lived far beyond its normal life span.
The bookmark will forever be in Psalms Prayer of the Poet in Affliction.
There is a slip of paper in Ephesians that reads Ephesians 4:32 “Be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
My mother’s Bible looks like it was put through the washing machine, which, knowing Mother, is probably true. It was given to her by Mrs. Rufus Cushinau in 1936, a woman I have never heard of. Inside of Psalms is the home schedule for the Reno Renegades which is a mystery as she is not a sports fan. I’ll have to ask her about it. There are few special passages marked, most notably Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Mother is not one wit sentimental. But of the three bibles, I like the illustrations in this one the best. Unfortunately they are all damaged.
Whoever Mrs. Cushinau was, she knew Mother. This is the only Bible to contain Cliff Notes.
My Bible was given to me by the Methodist Church which I went to sporadically growing up. It’s much larger that the others. About the size of the one Trump held the other day in his photo op. Being quite sentimental, my bible is jammed with things. A letter from my grandmother wishing me a Happy New Year and letting me know that, even though it was a Monday (her usual wash day) she would be postponing the wash because of cloudy skies.
There’s a birthday card from years ago, someone I sadly lost contact with and later found out was going through a very rough time.
Pictures of my children, memorials, postcards … it’s just stuffed. In this version, revised in 1952, Jesus is a hippie who apparently likes to sit under trees and chat with his followers.
And my parents wondered how the hippie movement ever came to be!
Like the Hippie Jesus, I prefer to seek solace in nature. I do not believe God wrote the Bible up in his office in the sky and then transmitted his “orders” to a council of “holy” men sitting in the desert. But it is a work of prose and poetry that has evolved over the centuries to reflect human experience and, to many people, it provides solace. Even to those who aren’t believers, it is a necessary reference to understand many of the great works of literature. To use the Bible as a symbol of one’s political power is worse than burning it.