Book Review

Authors offer up a racy view of the Bible

The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book
By John Kaltner, Steven McKenzie, Joel Kilpatrick
HarperCollins, 224 pages, $19.95

Most believers would say the Bible is the Word of God, or at least a divinely inspired book written by divinely inspired men.

But what if the Bible had been mistranslated, or censored to remove the tawdry its about pimps, cross-dressers or, ahem, Brazilian wax as punishment?

That's what biblical scholars John Kaltner and Stephen L. McKenzie of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., were wondering, and they set out to investigate a handful of unorthodox interpretations of Old Testament tales.

The result was their new book, The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book, co-authored with Christian satirist Joel Kilpatrick.

They've got questions like: Was Eve actually created not from Adam's rib, but "from something a little lower down"? Was the "knowledge of good and evil" in the Garden of Eden a euphemism for sex? And, as Chapter 6 asks, "Did Abraham Pimp Sarah?"

Churches consider energy issues

At St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., the 14,000-member congregation billed itself as a "seven-day-a-week" hub of activity, with choir practices, ministry meetings or small groups scheduled every night.

Then Pastor Kevin Cosby noticed a drop-off -- people simply couldn't afford the gas to drive to several activities on several different evenings.

So Cosby shuffled the schedule to combine all activities on Wednesday night to give parishioners a "one-stop-shop for your soul." The church also bought a third 14-passenger bus to shuttle people to and from church.

"We thought it would be a better practice of stewardship," Cosby said. "The good use and stewardship of resources is how we demonstrate our love for God."

Members with long commutes say they already feel the benefit of the Wednesday shift.

"I think it's great. Tonight I am going to attend three different auxiliaries all in one night," said Cornelius Pumphrey, an 11-year member who lives 25 miles away. "Gas here is $4 ... I will be able to save a considerable amount."

Added Brenda Dudley, a member for 21 years, "Budget-wise, it really helps to have everything under one roof at one time."

Sierra Club highlights going green for God

(RNS) From Christians in Hawaii to Buddhists in Connecticut, and from Jews in New York to Muslims in Wisconsin, people of all walks of faith are finding a myriad of ways to care for the environment, according to a first-of-it-kind report from the Sierra Club.

According to the report, "Faith in Action: Communities of Faith Bring Hope for the Planet" 67 percent of Americans said they care about the environment because it is God's creation.

Highlighting faith-based environmental initiatives in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the report praises the "breadth, depth and diversity of spiritually motivated grassroots efforts to protect the planet."

The 36-page report highlights different programs, from Episcopalians working to restrict oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to a large-scale recycling program at a Southern Baptist megachurch near Orlando, Fla.