Sometimes I Am Ashamed -

Friday, April 18, 2008

 

I preface this entire post by stating – I am as guilty as the next Christian, and am speaking to myself as much as the Protestant world at large.

Last night B10 and I were curled up in my bed watching the Public Broadcasting Station. We have really ragged bunny ears on our TV, and only get the main channels, and those come in pretty fuzzy. It was after 10 pm, and I had stopped on a documentary about Jews in America.

B10 and I had a few great discussions about the show, but there was a part that struck me and really gave me pause today.

There is a rise in the number of Orthodox Jews in America. These are generally considered the most conservative, and it has only been recently that they have begun allowing women to even study the Scriptures. The narrator talks about this particular sect then the camera showed groups of women sitting around tables studying.

These women sat around in groups and just read the Scriptures out loud and discussed them together. In Hebrew.

When’s the last time you sat down with other Christian women and read the Scriptures in Hebrew? Greek? Aramaic?

When’s the last time you sat down with other Christian women and read the Scriptures in English? And just studied them for themselves, without the crutch of someone else telling you what to believe.

Please do not get me wrong – there is plenty of good in the world done by talented women such as Beth Moore and Anne Graham Lotz. But I’ve also seen women who will join in a Bible Study just because it’s a “Beth Moore” study or an “Anne Graham Lotz” study.

Whatever happened to studying because it’s GOD’S study? Without the fancy videos and pretty, slick here-are-your-answer workbooks? What about sitting down with the Word of God and other women who have the same desire to learn you have and just reading?

We aren’t going to have all the right answers, and it’s okay to ask questions of those more educated than us in the religious field (especially since most of us cannot return to the original text and languages). But Scripture as a whole was NEVER MEANT to be confusing or difficult to understand. That is NOT God’s way.

I wonder if it’s because it’s not a privilege to us. My husband isn’t sitting outside my door denying me the right to read about my Lord. The government isn’t threatening to turn my children against me or kill me for my beliefs.

Bible Study time has become social time for the Western Protestant Woman.

I wish I knew how to fix it. How do I get the same hunger for knowledge that drives the Jewish Orthodox women to go out of their way to spend time in the Written Torah? Where do I find a group of women to walk along side me?

How do I live my life less ashamed?

4 comments:

Edelweiss said...

I appreciate your thoughtful insight. I was disappointed that I didn't get to finish that documentary. It seemed very interesting.

I would love to attend that sort of bible study. We women forget that we have a priviledge that many others before us did not, and to not take advantage of it is a shame.

Keetha said...

I wrote a whole comment yesterday about this and somehow lost it - - - so let me try to encapsulate it here:

I read most of Chaim Potok's novels with great fascination. I was very impressed with how their young boys are taught (both orthodox and unorthodox) to study the Torah. Not just study but memorize.

Meredith said...

I enjoyed reading your post. When Chris and I first joined our church, I started attending a women's "Bible" study... it turned out that it was more of a book study. I continued to attend because I was hoping that it would turn into a Bible study, like I was seeking. Needless to say, I dropped out for various reasons. I'm still in search of a good, real Bible study.

I read the comment that your friend Keri posted regarding Sunday School, and honestly feel the same way. All the people our age in the class we should attend, have children (which we do not... yet) and that's all they talk about. I also found it strange that they go to church every Sunday without their Bibles (VERY VERY strange for me... you know, we ALWAYS had our Bibles every time we were there).
I think that not only has "Bible studies" for Western Protestants turned into social hours, but I am beginning to think it's the reason many attend church at all. (Can you tell I'm not happy at my current church home?)

If you ever meet with a group of women to discuss scriptures, I would absolutely LOVE to be included. I am in deep desire for some study!!!

BooSheep said...

One of the things I have been challenging myself to do is to read through the entire Bible... I started last year and am almost to the New Testament. I was honestly ashamed that after being a Christian for over 20years I had never read through the Bible completely and never really stopped to ponder the scriptures. I wonder how different it would be if everyone not only "knew" what they believed, but why they believed it.

Shel