[edited so that I can poke fun at scientists. :-> ]
I'm sorry that I haven't been posting lately. Life has never been busier, as I wake up every morning to find that there's already a 1001 things calling for my attention!
Nevertheless, God has been good, as I remember that I am a vessel of his grace. I've been leading quite a few Bible studies these past 2 weeks, and it's been very refreshing and humbling to be able to dwelve into the text and stay there for a while, as well as to teach it to others. There's this phrase that popped into my head unexpectedly last week that I've been using to keep my focus on the ultimate goal of Bible study foremost in my mind:"As we ask questions of the text we allow the text to ask questions of us."
A simple statement, but definitely one that is tough to consistently apply. I've been finding out how I often forget to also have to apply the passage in question to myself before teaching others. My CU is going through John 1-5 this term, and it's simply fantastic. I hope to be able to publish my notes and thoughts on John each week, but I'm behind at the moment. Hopefully I'll have the time to write them up.
I find that I genuinely love leading Bible studies though, as those who have sat in my group can testify - I've overrun the time limit each and every time. I have to learn to be more concise. It's just such a privilege (and a scary one, let's not forget that) to be able to help others see the passage for themselves and go "Wow, I never saw that before".[the next 2 paragraphs have been added to the original posting]
Funny thing though, is that I've got lots of scientists in both my church and CU bible study groups. So (in my mind, anyway) I had a little competitive match of scientists vs. artists. Let's see now, in church BS, I have a guy doing his PhD in seismology, another doing public health, another with a background in Physics, and if another one of my members had showed up, I would have had a medical doctor as well! And the passage in question? Genesis 1. Just imagine the possibilities.
My group wins the award for best scientific analogies, no doubt. When someone began talking about the second law of Thermodynamics and light particles, I knew it was time for the literature student to strike back. So in explaining Genesis 1:2, I went: "It might be helpful to think of God as a Potter here, beginning to shape a yet unformed piece of granite..."; I probably would have gone on about artists painting canvas or whatever if I hadn't caught myself. :-p Seriously though, my group were very good, and their insights, while more scientific in nature, were really helpful. In my CU, the newcomers are physicists and computer scientists so I don't have much backup there either. :) So, again, faced with this onslaught of scienc-y people, I had to prove my mantle. I retreated to my marker and blank paper, and framed the passage in question as a play to help people see the flow of dialogue more clearly. Ha, power to the artists! (So much for Christian charity and unity...)
I'm also growing to love my CU more and more, and I'm truly thankful to God that he's added to our numbers this term, even if we still are small, and they're a great bunch of people. I'm convinced that the best way to draw people is simply, to love one another. (John 13:35) My continued prayer to God is to "give us life in community / [and] wake us from our sleep" / ...Send down Your Word; we are eager to hear it / Ready our hearts to carry Your love"
(Carry Your Love
, Caedmon's Call).
I've also managed to obtain a second-hand copy of Is there a meaning in this text?
by Kevin Vanhoozer - so I'm really happy! Vanhoozer's book is probably the seminal work of the last decade on biblical hermeneutics or interpretation, although it's not an easy read. I've been quite challenged recently on questions of authority and inerrancy of Scripture , as well as postmodern theories of interpretation, so I'm glad to have finally gotten hold of this book. Won't have much time to just sit there and digest it though, so I'll probably read it in little bite-sized pieces.
Okay, need to get back to the Bard and his iambic pentameters.