What is Scripture?

Vicky Lee in Hawai'i

Scripture Arises From Our Lives

We are the living word. Scripture arises from our lives every day. When we tap into our souls, a word is there in the depths.

The first place we access scripture is not through the text, but through our life experiences. Once we examine and explore the depths of our soul, we find the right word for our exact situation—living inside of us.

Some spiritual practices read a verse of scripture and think about how it applies to their reality. For us, we start with what’s most alive for us in the moment. Our “Aha!” moments immediately bring scriptures to mind. Sometimes, it shouts out at us. Sometimes, it whispers in our hearts. Sometimes, it sings.

Scripture does not speak to our lives, as much as our lives speak scripture.

Why We Use These Versions of the Bible

To Imagine God into our Lives

In the Catholic tradition of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Jesuit monks imagine themselves living in the time of Jesus. Day by day, observing the way he touches and relates to people, sensing his emotions, eating with him, fasting with him, sleeping beside him under the stars. They imagine themselves in Jesus’ life. And him, in their lives.

In the hip-hop tradition, creator Aaron MacGruder imagines Jesus to be Black in the TV show “Black Jesus,” living in his van in Compton, Los Angeles, trying not to get cited for parking violations, and building a community garden with his disciples, who are partially-employed young folk living in his neighborhood.

Rev. Vick Lee in Hawai'i

The song by Joan Osborne asks, “What if God were one of us? Just a slob like one of us, just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?”

At Hale Ho’onani, God is not outside of us, far away, ruling in heaven. God is deeply personal. A spark of God lives within each of us. In that sense, God is riding the bus with us, getting a parking ticket with us, lighting up a blunt with us. Cuz what we do, God does too. What we put in our bodies, we put in God’s body too. God is living our lives with us and within us.

That is why modern interpretations of the bible which expand our vision and expand our reality—to include God in our lives—are critical to our evolution as conscious, creative, grounded and effective human beings.

We actively practice imagining God as one of us, and as us.

If this seems like a stretch, think of your dog. You let your dog do all the things you do. You let him wear Christmas sweaters, eat ice-cream, sleep in your bed. You explain things to your dog, you let him see you cry, you take him everywhere with you. Your dog knows you very well. He accepts all of who you are. It’s your dog!

You let your dog live your life with you and some people say their dog is part of them. If your dog can live your life with you and be part of you, why can’t God? And get this: no matter how drug addicted you are, how suicidal, how slutty, how violent, how drunk—your dog is always on your side—just like God.

Staying Grounded

To Get Really Grounded

“Grounding is the act of using the mind and body to clear excess energy away. Very literally, it is the act of getting closer to the earth, or putting our feet firmly on the ground.” —wildspeak.com

Grounding also refers to directing electrical current into the earth. That is exactly what we are doing—grounding the sacred into our lives.

Four different versions of the bible help us to ground.

Bibles We Reference

Hawaiian Bible

Ka Baibala Hemolele is the Bible in the Hawaiian language. It was translated in the 19th century.

The Message Bible

The Bible in conversational language which preserves its authentic, earthy flavor and expressive character. It was translated in 1993-2003 by pastor and poet Eugene Peterson.

Da Good An Spesho Book

The Bible in native creole Hawaiian pidgin, a dialect born from the fusion of Japanese, Ilocano, Okinawan, Korean, English, Cantonese, Portuguese and Hawaiian languages. Translated by 29 scholars from 1987 to 2020.

LOL Cat Bible

The Bible in the slang popularized by the LOLcat internet phenomenon. Jesus is “Happy Cat,” God is “Ceiling Cat” and you-know-who is “Basement Cat.” The Holy Spirit is “Hover Cat.” Blessings are “cheezburgerz” and people are “kittehs.” Translated in open source by numerous scholars since 2007.

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