Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New neighborhood Bible study reflects the amazing diversity of our neighborhood, and the radical teachings of Jesus

    My dear wife and I are starting a new Bible study at our home, and Jill sent out this enthusiastic letter about how it's going:
"I’m so overcome with joy at such a wonderful Bible study in our home tonight that I just had to share it with you. This is something I’ve been dreaming of for years and the time is right. The dream: a Bible study where those who attend would be in walking distance, and it would reflect the demographics and economic levels of our community. We would have the Holy Spirit as our leader; no one person would be dominate, all would lead and share as they felt led. And it has happened!!
"Here’s a snapshot of who was in attendance tonight: an armchair philosopher from Guatemala who speaks only Spanish; two African American women, one who is a leader in her Seventh Day Adventist Church and the other who lives on Social Security and deals with addictions; a Filipino who has two PhDs, his wife from El Salvador,  and then me and Anthony. We decided to read Luke, and reflect on maybe 15 verses each time we meet.
"Tonight was the story of how Jesus stayed behind, questioned the elders, while his family was worried sick searching for him for several days. After that it tells how Jesus grew up in a balanced way: with wisdom, statue, favor with God and man. The Filipino asked, what is “wisdom,” and that led us to Proverbs 8-9—a fun description of a playful, joyous proclaimer of truth. What a fun picture of Jesus. We all felt the delight of God’s presence as he met each of us in a beautiful way.
"Pray that God will daily help me to live out this kind of wisdom. Anthony has been suffering with sciatica the last few weeks. Pray for continued healing. Thank you again for your part in my work! Love, Jill Shook"
 Notice that our Bible study has Quaker as well as Evangelical elements. We begin with silent worship and we  practice the radical egalitarianism recommended by Jesus. Criticizing Pharisees who like to be considered experts on religious matters, and love to be called  "rabbis" [teachers], Jesus told his students:

"Do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers [and sisters]. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders [masters]; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.…" (Matthew: 23, 8-11).

This is the Bible passage that influenced Quakers to avoid using titles like "Mister" and "Doctor."

I love the diversity of our group and hope we can continue to bring together neighbors from different social and economic backgrounds. There is so much we can learn from each other, and from our Inward Teacher....   To be continued.....


1 comment:

  1. If you put dry wood into the fire systematically one after the other, the chances that the fire will keep on burning are high. This can be applied with faith as well. When you supplement your faith by being with people, talking to them and discussing the will and the words of the Lord, your faith will never wither and will keep on burning and growing instead. I feel glad that you finally got your dream of conducting a bible study in your home and gather people in your neighborhood who houses the same faith. I hope that you keep doing this. And hand in hand with your brothers and sisters, spread the word of the Lord.
    Allen @ Christian Leaders Institute