Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
A Catholic reads the Bible, Week 4: Inspired by an above-average Joe
Finally. I have found a character I like and a story I couldn't stop reading in the Bible: Joseph.
In a nutshell: Joseph is the favorite son of Jacob who is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and then becomes a chief adviser (which includes interpreting dreams, apparently) for the Egyptian pharaoh. This page-turning tale has its twists and turns, and is a little hard to follow at times. But it captivated my attention, and I kept wanting to read more.
Not to trivialize the Bible, but Joseph's story kind of sounds like an Old Testament soap opera. (All that's missing is the twin brother who's also an amnesiac.) Now I know, all those plot twists I used to watch on "Guiding Light" weren't original. That sort of scheming has biblical roots.
I was more than a little afraid that something would eventually happen in the story to make me dislike Joseph. Would he exact revenge on his brothers? Would he have them killed by the pharaoh?
While Joseph does plant a goblet on his brother, framing Benjamin for theft, ultimately Joseph's goal is reconciliation, not revenge. He longs to be reunited with his father, Jacob.
I found a grace in Joseph that I wasn't expecting. His world was destroyed due -- by his own brothers, no less. But, rather than bowing to that, he made the best of the life that was before him.
It's a lesson that we all can learn, and it made me think of all the times in my life where I was challenged to do the right thing or be the bigger person. Joseph's was this kind of inspiring Bible story that I envisioned when I started this project.
After last week's post, Lee Behrens tweeted:
As I wondered more about Lot and hoping to finish Genesis quickly, that lesson stuck with me.
Joseph is the iceberg that makes me think about my modern, 21st-century life and the challenges to be a better person. Joseph gave me hope. Could I be that graceful and forgiving to someone who wronged me? Could I continue to lead like Joseph did in the face of such obstacles?
That's the story that inspires me this week. And I guess I will be renting a copy of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" so I can be slightly more culturally aware.