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great study

I've been struggling with the text. I've been wrestling with the Bible, I've been searching, I've been chewing, and still, every Thursday I walk away from my Saranam Bible Study changed. It is often the little things, the diversion from the text at hand that change me.

Today we were talking about the beatitudes, and somehow got on the topic of being in prison. How we made that jump I don't really recall, but we did. We talked about what it was like for the ladies who have been imprisoned, what it is like to have to fend for yourself. What their jobs were like, what they ate, who could visit them, how visits went. It was fascinating. It had nothing to do with Bible study, but for me, for the first time it brought real faces to those prisons that I've driven past. There is one on the way to St. Louis from my house that is right off of the interstate. Often you'll see people outside, you might see a fight, but in any case, you see people who are in a cage, who made mistakes, or maybe people who got caught for other people's mistakes. Today I felt a reality unlike any other that I ever have and it was powerful beyond belief. To know that there are faces behind those fences was incredibly powerful to me. One week soon they promised that we'll have a "prison lunch" during bible study where they'll make the things they ate. I was unaware that they would eat things that weren't in the cafeteria. I'll have to update you all on how that goes, but they promise me that though the food may sound strange that it is actually pretty good. I'm intrigued.

We were talking about being poor in spirit and one of them spoke up... "You know it is right, the more money we come across the more problems we see, just like that song." I can honestly say that never have I come across a Notorious BIG quote in a Bible study but it fit for what we were talking about. That first line, blessed are the poor in spirit is always something that I have to really wrap my mind around, but our families were quick to zero in on the word "poor" and drop the "in spirit." Though in Luke it does in fact say poor and poor alone, in Matthew there is the addition of "in spirit," but my families didn't seem to hear that phrase. It opened my eyes to the fact that our interpretations and readings of scripture really are shaped by the life that we lead or have led. To me, I've always read Matthew's version to mean that the powerless will receive the kingdom of heaven. I guess it was just interesting to hear their perspective, to talk about those who mourn and the link of mourning with that of giving up children or not choosing to raise them.

This Bible study is deep in ways that I have never felt before. I so enjoy that time of teaching, of explaining, of asking the questions and seeing where we can dig to. Last night in my Disciple bible study we talked about how we are unpacking the book of Genesis like we would peel the layers off of an onion. The scriptures are lined with meaning, packed with layer upon layer of things that can be hard, things that can affect us.

I want to end with a small quote from the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell that is becoming more and more important with my life. I don't have a page number, but seriously, if you have not read the book I encourage you to do so.

The rabbis have a metaphor for this wrestling with the text: The story of Jacob wrestling the angel in Genesis 32. He struggles and it is exhausting and tiring and in the end his hip is injured. And he walks away limping.

Because when you wrestle with the text, you walk away limping.

And some people have no limp because they haven't wrestled. But the ones limping have had an experience with the living God.

I think God does know what he is doing with the Bible. But a better question is, do we know what we're doing with the Bible?

And I say, yes, we are bind and loosing and wrestling and limping.

Because God has spoken.

I pray that you may walk away limping as I am finding myself. I pray that you may have an experience with the living God that is like no other.
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BTW, its on page 68-69 of velvet elvis!

By Blogger CSDL, at 1:53 PM  

Wow...this is the second reference someone has given me today about Velvet Elvis. I've really got to read this book!

By Blogger Tiffany, at 12:25 PM  

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