"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Fuel – 2nd Lesson

Posted in Day-To-Day, Theological by matt on Sunday, September 6, 2009

Last week I posted and/or ranted about the midweek Bible study I’ve been leading and one of the things I’ve learned from the experience. This second lesson is…how-you-say?…a paradox, and it came as an unpleasant surprise.

Simply put: The people in our group with the most church/Bible study/religious background typically have the most trouble correctly interpreting that evening’s passage.

For the last few weeks this church-kid-trend has left me utterly flummoxed (an awesome word I found that means ‘confused’ – sweet huh?) because it seems, logically, that more study and exposure to the Bible would generally make it easier to interpret the Bible – especially the simple passages!

So here are a few of my theories as to why the church kids at our study have more trouble with interpretation than the new believers.

Theory #1 Laziness: I alluded to this in a previous post, and I think the same thing may be true of many other church kids. They depend on the prerecorded religious statements given to them by people wiser than themselves instead of actually learning how to come up with statements of their own. But exploration and personal discovery is essential for a person seeking spiritual maturity. We have to take ownership.

Theory #2 Boredom: Let’s just face it, hearing about Jesus feeding the 5 thousand for the 5 thousandth time can get a little boring. There are only so many ways a person can teach, “Willingly offer Jesus what you have,  he’ll totally handle things” before it gets a little mind-numbing. I acknowledge this, and I think the best solution to a church kid’s boredom is service. That means instead of making junk up or drawing obscure parallels that are completely out of context, those who are more mature in their understanding should become leaders and facilitators for those who are new – take ownership of the ministry by ministering!

Theory #3 Numbness: Of all the possibilities, this is the scariest. Hearts drift from God and harden, and the Bible study becomes an empty ritual revolving around the intellect. So, instead of an inward spiritual revolution, we show up to acquire worthless knowledge in hopes that it’ll somehow transform us. But the brain alone isn’t enough. We need a changed heart. This problem is subtle because it is about a person’s intentions. Do we intend to change into to be transformed, or do we intend to fill our heads w/ more stuff that’ll puff us up?

This is something I’m still processing. Please feel free to add to the above thoughts or argue w/ them as you like. I’ve definitely taken ownership of leading this group in an unexpected way, and I’m grateful to God for such an opportunity to grow with such an amazing group of people.

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3 Responses

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  1. jkwakefield said, on Monday, September 7, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I think you hit it on the head when you mentioned service. Though, one can do service for service’ sake and not in a spiritual attitude. Knowing about God intellectually is of some use and importance, but it should not be separated from serving others (along side other believers) and putting yourself in the path of where God might work. Seeking knowledge without service (and community) is where I often trip up!

  2. tim said, on Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I was lazy, bored and numb yesterday.

  3. Dad said, on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Theory 1 + Theory 2 + Theory 3 = Innoculation

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