Thursday, January 5, 2012

pondering expectations

Have you ever walked into a situation literally having NO idea what to expect?  That scenario has played out a lot for me over recent months. I must admit I've come to rather enjoy it.  It's quite thrilling.  But then again I'm the woman who drives around town with the license plate that reads, "YNOT?"

Last night I attended my first mid-week Bible study at the Lutheran church we've been attending.  Now, the following is going to sound completely judgmental, idiotic, pious, and God only knows what else.  But it's honest.  So here goes.

My background tells me that mainline churches aren't serious about the Bible.  That they downplay scripture and faith in general.   That they are glorified social clubs.  Not only that, but any church where gender-varied people are present obviously falls into a category known as "liberal", and therefore has a whole litany of descriptors attached to it, that I won't even bother to go into because that's actually fodder for a completely different post...

I've learned by now that the above assumptions are in no way necessarily true, but I still had no idea what to expect.  What I got was delightful.  Challenging.  Ponder-worthy, if I say so myself!

First of all, we were practically doing old school Awana sword drills, we were flipping through our Bibles so much!  Comparing versions and footnotes and cross references.  Awesome! 

"How does what Isaiah says tie in with the Psalm Jesus quoted here in Matthew?  And is it also possible that Daniel is referencing the same thing or is the language only similar and so we assume it's the same thing?"
"How does our theology of the cross inform our view of who God is?"
"Well ... what do you mean by right?"

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I gotta say... I'm an herbivore when it comes to diet, but I had MEAT  last night!  Good meat, too.  Wow, that was fun!  Can't wait to go back in two weeks.  And, as a side note, turns out my natural bent of interpretation/application is actually quite... Lutheran!  Funny, that.  Pastor N reminded me, “We take the Bible too seriously to take it literally.”  If that’s a scary statement for you, I get that, but I’ve come to realize that I’ve always handled the Bible this way, I just didn’t know (until recently) that that was “okay”.  No one is going to put me in detention for asking the wrong questions (yes that really happened to me at my Christian high school … no, Mama, I never told you about it … sorry!) J

As an added note (and this paragraph definitely falls under what I fear will sound “judgmental/idiotic/pious”) I need to point out that at least half the people sitting around the table were gay.  Straight Christians who aren’t accustomed to spending time with gay Christians don’t realize this – in my experience, can’t even fathom this – so I feel the need to share it:  the word “gay” never came up. Homosexuality never came up.  SEXuality never came up.  In fact, unless you have some seriously tuned in gay-dar going on, you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between any of us!  I obviously don’t care one way or the other, but this is important, so hear me:  a mix of gay and straight Christians had a Bible study that had ZERO to do with “the gay thing”.  Now, I’d have loved to share ONE post without using that word but alas… ;)

I’m learning so much and truly enjoying it.  Understand, this IN NO WAY underscores how much I've learned from other people and places ... I have written pages upon pages over the years about all that Pastor M has taught me about grace.  So this is not a pitting of one denomination or group against another, not at all.  Those nearest to me know that full well, you know my heart, but just in case any readers do not know, I say it again.  

Since I know some of you are wondering, I ... we - our family, have not left anything and have not joined anything.  I honestly have no idea how this small congregation of people fits into the grand story of our lives.  Truth be told, I'm probably in a state of denial because I'm still trying to figure how to literally be in two places at one time.  I reject the temptation to be stressed by those questions.  What I do recognize is that this as an important chapter, and I intend to milk it for all it's worth.   

How about you?  Is there something in your life that you're so concerned about it's permanence (or lack thereof) that you're missing its richness?  Maybe that's a ponder-worthy question in and of itself....

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