I had not heard of an “Adventure Bible” before. Father Mike’s face looked familiar, presumably from popping up during some online search or other. He has such a big smile and bright eyes above his firm clerical collar. The words “The Bible in a Year” held some promise, but I’d yet to be fully lured in.

The article my husband sent me referred to Father Mike as chaplain for the University of Minnesota Duluth's Newman Catholic Campus Ministries.

The Newman Center located by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus had caught my attention. There must be some connection. Of the millions of people following his podcast, it’s easy to believe some are nearby.

When talking a little bit about himself, we heard about his interaction with his nieces and nephews. He also spoke of the plaque his mother had up on the wall, which made an impression on him hanging at eye level where he sat as his older siblings prevented him from playing video games. Endearing.

Chatting with a Bible scholar during an introductory podcast, there certainly were elements of study highlighted — from preferences for making notes to extensive color coding — all in pursuit of simplifying a challenging undertaking.

They’ve got a plan.

There’s the timeline. There’re also the 14 narrative books around which the other 50 plus will be woven — those of law and poetry and wisdom. We behold the collection of stories and “the big story.”

The Bible delivered by Father Mike isn’t merely read, it’s “proclaimed.” He goes straight from enthusiastic fast-paced reading — not getting the least bit tripped up by all the names as we move quickly “from fruit to murder” — to a brief prayer and then his very helpful commentary. Replete with words like “wow” and “gosh” (and remember “duh” in Hebrew is “duh”) we’re guided through some of the seemingly contradictory bits. Some of the truth is literal, some is more poetic and allegorical.

The suggested filter is to “read the Bible like it had something to teach me.”

There is “the old revealed in the new and the new hidden in the old.” Specifically, you can look for who you are — created “not to be a slave or a toy” — in this living word lovingly installed between the “garden bookends.”

Kate Josephson grew up in rural southwestern Minnesota — going to a small town church every Sunday — worked as a church secretary in Red Wing for seven years. She continues to seek out religious experiences wherever she goes.

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