Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Subversive Power of the Gospel
Today was the first gathering my first Bible Study as a member of the staff of my new church. I have been attending this program-sized parish for about 9 months now. I have preached and celebrated and sung in the choir. But on Sunday, the rector ‘regularized’ my status by adopting me as an ‘assisting priest’.
It is a neat parish. It is one of the few fairly progressive parishes that was not tainted by the Iker regime. It is in the suburb of Ft. Worth where I started teaching back in the late sixties when I was an undergrad. One of the kids I had in school is now the Jr. Warden. When I taught there, it was a small spot on the road where the kids were often late to school because “the cows jumped the fence.” There was one school K-8 with 2 classrooms of each grade. Now the system has 23 elementary schools! And it is one of the fastest growing cities and tony school systems in all of TX.
But today I met with 8 very active and rather vocal and thirsty senior women who wanted to learn more about the Bible. Some of them feel as though they know NOTHING and even though they may have been Episcopalians their whole lives, they feel woefully out of touch with the source of their faith. Some were raised in other traditions but in ALL cases they felt that the Bible had been mediated to them and carefully interpreted to them by men.
One woman who had been the buyer for her parish book store in another conservative diocese said that the rector only allowed her to buy books from conservative authors. Another said, she quite frankly didn’t believe in a lot the ‘BS’ that she had been taught in sermons. And I was able to say, I didn’t either. And we all laughed.
The whole idea of women studying the Bible together has, I am sure, been going on for 2000 years—whether it was allowed or behind closed doors. Even Paul found it scary what happened when women found the source of their power in the life of Jesus. These women are ready to step into the scary world of being free in their faith. Watch out, Church!