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A Meaningless Study: The 12 Days of Ecclesiastes

I'm not sure if this writing project will exactly correspond with the 12 days of Christmas, but there's a good chance I'll get some writing in during the Christmas break. This post will merely serve as an advertisement and introduction to the hopefully forthcoming content. It seems useful to write about one of my favorite books of the Bible, and it's a short book, which makes it all the more convenient. Ecclesiastes also seems to be grossly overlooked; while inspiring Bible verses are constantly shared out of context, Qoheleth's wise words don't seem to be mentioned much at all. 

At least, most of the time. My interest with Ecclesiastes was actually sparked while I was in high school (probably 16 or 17), when I was perusing a certain web page on a certain social media site. Verse 2 of chapter 5 enraptured my attention: Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. I wasn't into philosophy or theology at that point, nor did I possess the will to read that I am now better at maintaining, but I remember how profound those words appeared to me at the moment. I had never read anything quite like it before in my life. 

Fast forward a couple years, when I was doing volunteer work in Seattle with some comrades from Bible school in March of 2013. During an ambivalent bout of indifference and worry, I turned to the pages of Ecclesiastes to bask in sentiments of vanity. The verses cooled my youthful angst, reaffirming me of the melancholy that was spreading in my life-world. This perhaps sounds like it would have been discouraging, given the way I was feeling, though quite the opposite holds true. There was a familiarity to the words of the text, not in the sense that I had already seen them, but rather, that I had, slightly below self-recognition, felt what I was now seeing. As strange as it might sound, it's almost as if I wanted everything to be gloomy, at that moment in my life. I remember how astounded I was by some of these verses, haughtily reading them aloud, as if I was wise for merely finding life to be disappointing. The above fragments are meant emphasize the ties that my own life has to the text. Have you ever had a song you heard at a certain time and when you listen to it later, it reminds you of that other time? That's how I look upon the book of Ecclesiastes, as it brings back both memories of regret and a longing for that which no longer remains in my life. 

I must admit that I have some hesitancy in starting this project, even in publishing this post with its somewhat personal sentiments. But I do enjoy quasi-existential reading every so often, so I hope to mimic that in terms of my content and prose style at times. That being said, I'm rarely interested in reading Bible related content. It's difficult enough for me to partake in personal scripture reading, but when somebody else has something to say about such things, I easily become skeptical and disinterested. What provokes people to share Bible verses and commentaries? And couldn't God reach me on His own terms? Ironically enough, I despise the rebellious attitude of such a person that refuses to receive any instruction or insight from others. Intentions are tricky to gauge. I guess you could say I almost always feel like I'm in a spiritual wilderness, a dark night of the soul. I hear many others are, too. I must be somewhere between humility, self-deprecation, and concealed pride in writing all of this. I'm sorry. That I plan to write about Ecclesiastes during Christmas is also awkward, considering one is mostly somber while the other is not supposed to be. Setting these worries aside, and since I have somehow prattled to an inexcusable extent, I look forward to seeing where this meaningless study takes me. All is vanity, and so, cheers.

Comments

  1. As Ecclesiastes is also one of my favorites, if not my favorite, and many of your sentiments around reading others Biblical commentary are startlingly similar to mine, I am looking forward to this.

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    1. Thank you, Nicholas. It's cool to see there's some common ground on those fronts.

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  2. Looking forward to this, too. It better be good. Jk :)

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    1. Thanks, Jay. Refunds are upon request, ha. No Tai Lopez commercials though, I promise. Looking forward to reading more Pale Blue Scratch over the break, too. :)

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