I want to thank everyone who participated in the Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again Study. It was a great Bible study and I enjoyed our time together. I hope all of you can say the same.
Our next Wednesday Night Adult Bible Study on the book Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again will be on January 4, 2023, at 7 p.m. We’ll be discussing pages 113-140, “The Beast” and “Resistance Stories.”
This Wednesday, December 7, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. we’ll be covering pages 61 through 79. This is not a pleasant chapter, but I look forward to our discussion.
At the suggestion of a well-respected local educator, I’ve drafted the following schedule for our Bible study on Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans.
Session 1 (Wednesday, November 9, 2022): “Introduction”
Session 2: “The Temple” and “1. Origin Stories”
Session 3: “The Well” and “2. Deliverance Stories”
Session 4: “The Walls” and “3. War Stories”
Session 5: “The Debate” and “4. Wisdom Stories”
Session 6: “The Beast” and “5. Resistance Stories”
Session 7: “The Water” and “6. Gospel Stories”
Session 8: “The Sea” and “7. Fish Stories”
Session 9: “The Letter” and “8. Church Stories”
Railing against the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, John Wesley made an important point for the interpretation of scripture.
“[The doctrine of predestination] destroys all [God’s] attributes at once. It overturns both his justice, mercy and truth. Yea, it represents the most Holy God as worse than the devil. . . . But you say you will ‘prove it by Scripture’. Hold! What will you prove by Scripture? That God is worse than the devil? It cannot be. Whatever that Scripture proves, it never can prove this. . . . There are many Scriptures the true sense whereof neither you or I shall know till death is swallowed up in victory. But this I know, better it were to say it had no sense at all than to say it had such a sense as this. . . . No Scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.”
— John Wesley 
 John Wesley, “Free Grace,” in The Sermons of John Wesley: A Collection for the Christian Journey, ed. Kenneth J. Collins and Jason E. Vickers (Nashville, Tenessee: Abingdon Press, 2013), 28-29.
In response to the current splintering of The United Methodist Church and the misinformation proliferating during this time, the Great Plains Annual Conference has produced a two page handout highlighting core United Methodist beliefs. You can find it at the link below.
This evening, Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at 7 p.m., we’ll have a Bible study on God’s faithfulness. You can attend in person in the parlor or you can join us via Zoom at bit.ly/3AOWXnf. You don’t need to read anything ahead of time to participate. (Most people don’t.) We’ll begin with a short video introduction and then continue the discussion from there. If you want to watch the video or study the materials ahead of time you can go here.
Our next Wednesday Night Adult Bible Study will be on Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans. The plan is to start Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at 7 p.m.
From the publisher:
“If the Bible isn’t a science book or an instruction manual, what is it? What do people mean when they say the Bible is inspired? When New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans found herself asking these questions, she embarked on a journey to better understand what the Bible is and how it’s meant to be read. What she discovered changed her—and it can change you, too.”
The book is available at all the usual places, and copies have been ordered so you can pick one up at church. The suggested donation is $14, but feel free to give whatever you can or just take one.
This evening, Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at 7 p.m., we’ll have a Bible study on God’s loyal love. You can attend in person in the parlor or you can join us via Zoom at bit.ly/3AOWXnf. You don’t need to read anything ahead of time to participate. (Most people don’t.) We’ll begin with a short video introduction and then continue the discussion from there. If you want to watch the video or study the materials ahead of time you can go here.
At Wednesday night Bible Study we’ve been studying the attributes of God found in Exodus 34:6: “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” In our most recent study, we looked at some quotes from Abraham Heschel that I want to share with you:
“The prophets had no theory or ‘idea’ of God. What they had was an understanding . . . To the prophets, God was overwhelmingly real and shatteringly present. . . . To the prophets, the attributes of God were drives, challenges, commandments, rather than timeless notions . . . They disclosed attitudes of God rather than ideas about God.”
“To the prophet . . . God does not reveal himself in abstract absoluteness, but in a personal and intimate relation to the world. He [God] does not simply command and expect obedience; He is moved and affected by what happens in the world, and reacts accordingly. Events and human actions arouse in him joy or sorrow, pleasure or wrath. He is not conceived as judging the world in detachment. He reacts in an intimate and subjective manner. [God is moved, affected, grieved, gladdened and pleased by what people do.]”
“This notion that God can be intimately affected, that He possesses not merely intelligence and will, but also pathos, basically defines the prophetic consciousness of God. “
God is not indifferent to injustice, but God is slow to anger. (In the King James Version the Hebrew word for slow to anger is translated as longsuffering). That’s why, in the Bible, we continually see God giving people chance after chance, opportunity after opportunity, to repent and turn back to God. It is why, I believe, the years between Jesus’s first and second comings have stretched so long. Like the loving father in the parable, God is ever ready to abandon all dignity and rush down the road to welcome us home.
It is to our benefit that God is slow to anger, but it is also to our benefit that God will not allow injustice to stand forever. The world will be set right and all will be well in the end. No matter what we have done, it is not yet ever too late to turn to God. It is also never too early, and sooner is better than later.
At this Wednesday’s Adult Bible Study (October 5, 2022), we’ll be talking about what the Bible says about God’s anger and wrath; but we’ll be doing so in the context of God’s character as “slow to anger.” It’s a great lesson that helped me think through some of the most challenging passages in scripture. So I hope you’ll join us even if you haven’t done so before.
As usual, we’ll be meeting at
5:15 p.m. 7 p.m. You can attend in person in room 200 or join us via Zoom at https://wp.me/P3IZ7l-nZ. You don’t need to read anything ahead of time to participate. (Most people don’t.) We’ll begin with a short video introduction and then continue the discussion from there.
If you want to watch the video ahead of time you can go to: https://bit.ly/3deVkCh.
You can download the transcript as pdf here.
And you can download the study notes as a pdf here.
You can view the video and additional background resources here: https://bit.ly/3HvHLN2