Big Book Translation – Part IV

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Jun 17th, 2016
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Big Book Translation – Part IV

I just looked back to see when I wrote my first Big Book Translation post.  I started with the “We Agnostics” chapter of the Big Book, with the goal of more inclusive, accessible and contemporary language.  Language that speaks directly to people whose addiction is to food.  That speaks to people who seek a genderless God, and a world in which “she” and “he” get equal time.  I continued the translation here and here.


As I looked back, I was shocked to see how long ago I started this project.  It was during the same week that I whooshed a big chunk of change through the ether to buy a crumbling cottage – the last week in October, 2012.  In the four and a half years since, I’ve spent more than a thousand hours cleaning, repairing and feathering this cozy nest.  What a sense of accomplishment as I sit here, look around, and know there is not one cubic inch of this place I’ve not touched with my own hands.

In that same period of time, the Big Book translation project has not fared as well!  I just realized that I’ve not yet completed even one chapter.  So as part of my spiritual smack down this summer, I’m re-dedicating myself to the project.  We ended last time with this profound question:


Is it possible that some of us are just as biased and unreasonable about the realm of the spirit as were the ancients about the realm of the material?


And now we continue:  Did you know that American newspapers were afraid to print an account of the Wright Brothers’ first successful flight at Kitty Hawk? All previous efforts to fly had failed and the flight defied everything people believed. The best mathematical minds had “proved” that man could never fly. Religious people believed flight was impossible because God had reserved this privilege to the birds. Yet only thirty years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, airplane travel was commonplace, proving both science and religious beliefs false.


Recent years have seen so many rapid advances in technology –landing on the moon, astronauts living in space stations, the Internet, Smart phones, driverless cars, and so much more – that perhaps there is a new readiness to believe the impossible is possible?


Given that so many technological things originally declared impossible have been proved possible, maybe we should seriously consider the idea that our seemingly impossible human problems of depression, feelings of unworthiness, and out of control eating are solvable. Isn’t giving the Twelve Step solution to these miseries at shot, even if we can’t really understand how it works?


Maybe the easiest way to take a step towards belief in a spiritual solution for our addiction is to spend time with people who have solved their life problems with reliance upon the spiritual approach embodied in the Twelve Steps.


The Wright Brothers’ almost childish faith that they could build a machine that would fly was the mainspring of their accomplishment. Without that, they would have failed. Maybe those of us who doubt those who claim faith in the power of a Spirit of the Universe are like those who scoffed at the Wright Brothers.


Logic is so easy, so appealing. We’ve always liked it and continue to like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our senses, and to draw conclusions. It’s a gift. So it’s worth examining why people’s faith in a higher power is reasonable, in fact, more reasonable to believe than not to believe, why so many say they were was too dismissive when they said, “Well, we just don’t know.”


When we hit bottom in our compulsive eating, were crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade. In desperation we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either there is a spiritual power that holds everything, or is nothing. A power ruling the universe that is, or isn’t. A power that could help us recover, or not.


We arrived at this point squarely confronted with the question of faith. Some of us could push past our doubts and have moments of faith, moments that gave us hope. We felt that some of these logical arguments about things in the material world that were considered impossible, then were proved possible, were nudging us towards faith. But for so many, it seems impossible to take that last leap from the logical progression of reason into that final leap of faith. /


If you want to look up the pages that follow this in the real Big Book, you may see why I stopped here.  Tough stuff to translate since I’m having trouble following the “logic” of the leap to faith.  Stay tuned.


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