There were interesting discussions at my church's Bible study last night. We talked about such topics as the challenges and difficulties in interpreting the Bible, people who have been released from mental institutions who cannot get on their feet, and the challenges of dealing with hospital bureaucracies. "You almost have to be your own advocate in these hospitals," someone astutely said. Of course, that's not easy for everyone! There seemed to be a humility and a compassion in the group's discussions last night. That, in my opinion, is better than its discussions about why we need to put prayer in school!
like to highlight two issues from last night's Bible study. First of
all, there was a lot of emphasis on our unworthiness. We read the story
of the blind man who cried out to Jesus for mercy, and Michael Card was
saying that mercy is someone giving us what we do not deserve. This
doesn't particularly resonate with me, to tell you the truth. I can
understand that I should not have a huge sense of entitlement, since
that will lead to disappointments, and it will get on people's nerves as
well. I also recognize that I have my share of flaws. But why should I
say that the blind man did not deserve to be healed? He's a
human being created in God's image. Doesn't he deserve a whole life?
Don't all of us? I just have problems with the standard Christian spiel
that we should all be so grateful that God has not snuffed us out for
our sins. While I realize that I have my moral flaws, I have a hard
time seeing myself as some kind of worm, who should be happy with
whatever table scraps God decides to give me. Then again, come to think
of it, there are a few times when I do feel like a worm, but that is
when I have done something that I regret, not because I'm trying to
brainwash myself to accept some theological spiel or script.
the workbook asked us which son we identify with in Jesus' parable of
the prodigal son: the younger brother, who went out and spent all his
inheritance money on fun, then humbly returned to his father; or the
older brother, who stayed behind with his father and followed all the
rules, and was resentful when his father welcomed back the prodigal son
and threw the prodigal son a party. To be honest, I have a hard time
putting myself in either box. I wasn't a wild kid, but I played by the
rules. I did well in school, read my Bible, etc. But I can't go to the
other extreme and paint my life as one of perfect rectitude, so, while I
can understand the older brother's reaction, I don't exactly resent
those who made bad decisions and are trying to get their lives in
order. I suppose that I characterize myself as one who played by the
rules, and yet, as I look back, even then I had problems, some of which I
wasn't even aware were problems.