My church did not have its Bible study last night. My pastor and his wife are away, plus we just got finished with the twelve-week curriculum on the Book to Romans. Next week, we'll be starting an eight week curriculum on the Gospel of John.
we have more time in between Bible studies. We have a winter Bible
study, and we have a spring Bible study, and there are weeks in between
the two. This time is different, however, and the reason is probably
that our study on Romans was so long----it lasted twelve
weeks! That meant that it started in the winter and lasted through the
spring. I joked that winter was staying with us even during the spring
in honor of our winter Bible study----a reference to the cold and the
snow that we recently had this spring.
Someone in the group
remarked that the John Bible study is not as controversial as the Romans
one. She herself is going through the John Bible study someplace
else----in a group that she's a part of. Her statement on the Romans
Bible study being controversial interested me. Looking at the
curriculum itself, it's not that controversial. It didn't get into what
Romans 1 said about homosexuality. A lot of its focus was on peace and
love, which aren't overly controversial concepts. I got a
little sick when I read a line from the booklet recommending that we
pray for the Jewish people's salvation, but we didn't read that
line----and I don't think it's because the group is liberal, per se, but
rather because we just did not get to it.
What was controversial
about our Romans Bible study, then? I think that the discussions could
get pretty controversial. I'm
afraid that some of what I said in the group may have influenced people
to think that I am not a Christian. Some probably think that I'm a
believer who has his doubts, like Rachel Held Evans and many of the
people who comment on her blog (not that I'm aware of how familiar the
people in the group are with Rachel and her books). I think there is a
part of me that is open to hearing people address my questions-----to
learning rather than talking----which would mean that I am a doubter who
just wants to learn. But there is also a part of me that is quite
hostile to evangelicalism, its doctrines, and the way that its
sub-culture is, in general. Does that make me a doubter, or something
more? In any case, it could be difficult sitting through a Bible study
where people wonder if I'm even a believer!
I'll go to the next one! I have learned quite a bit from these
studies. Blogging through them particularly helps me. I am somewhat
concerned that the Gospel of John will be controversial itself, at least for me. John's
Gospel, after all, talks about Jesus being the only way, and it
characterizes non-believers as condemned, as hostile to truth, as people
who just don't get it. I wonder what makes Christians think that
they're better than others!
In any case, stay tuned for my blog posts on our John Bible study!