Monday, November 2, 2009

bible maps

Though not technically part of the standard canon, the maps found in the back of some bibles are absolutely essential for a productive1 study of the gospel2.

While the maps indicate important locations and boundaries of ancient kingdoms, and thus help the astute religion hobbyist understand the geographic element of bible stories, their greatest benefit can be achieved only when the maps are used as a last desperate defense against the endemic boredom of Sunday school classes.

The correct use of these geographical aides depends on two prerequisites.

First, you must bring your scriptures to class. Many a newbie will incorrectly assume that bringing your scriptures to class will facilitate learning. That is not true. Scriptures are brought for their maps, which are useful for study during class. This study is often unrelated to the lesson topic, unless, of course, said lesson topic is "where shall Chris go on his next vacation?"

Secondly, you must find an opportunity to open your scriptures without appearing to open them solely for the purpose of containing your drool (and turning your dazed look into the devout study of probable flight paths from London to Munich3). You could wait until the teacher references a scripture4, or make a helpful comment based on a scripture you need to look up.

Once these prerequisites have been filled, you are home free and on your way to geographic bliss. Ponder the Israelite/Canaanite campaigns, and determine how you would have outflanked Joshua. Laugh at Reuben when you realize his tribe got like the worst land allocation ever. And lastly, trace Paul's travels and plan your own.

Sunday school is a wonderful place where wonderful people discuss wonderful things. If you fall short of wonderful, however, the bible maps were put in there for us.

And I'll see you in Seville.

1. Ummm, my definition of productive might differ slightly from yours, by the way5.
2. I'm sorry, but non-Christians, I sure hope they have maps in the Koran or Bhagavad Gita, or you're really missing out on something important during Sunday school. Errr, if you have Sunday school. Ramadan school? Shiva school? Sikh School?
3. That is, if you can pick out roughly where Munich would lie based on 2,000 year old Roman state boundaries and cities like Augusta Treverorum.
4. This can often lead to very long waits.
5. Productive (prəˈdəktiv): non-coma and/or tears of anguished boredom-inducing.

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