I think I must put the wrong things in my journal. Today I woke up thinking of something that happened in June or July. When I looked in my journal for the details it wasn’t there. So you will have to put up with my bad memory.
The setting was our women’s bible study, which continues through most of the Summer, even when most everything else that happens on Wednesdays is on hiatus. Well, we were studying somewhere in Hybel’s book Too Busy Not to Pray. At some point in the discussion, which may go off topic, I threw in a verse that popped into my head. I don’t recall the chapter we were studying, nor the verse at this point. One of the other ladies jumped on me and said, “Oh, don’t prooftext!” I simply looked at her in surprise, because I would never do that. I was merely offering something that seemed to fit with the topic of discussion. In my mind I was offering what God had given to me, and any interpretation had to do with how I apply scripture in my own life.
To be fair, our group is pretty diverse and usually people don’t shut others down that way. I don’t know this woman very well, however, and as I am hit or miss much of the time, I didn’t know how to respond to her. I was tempted to ask how she would interpret the verse herself, but kept my mouth shut. It may be that we were talking about how the Lord speaks to us and scripture is certainly one of the ways.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I was trained, in my youth, to look at what scripture says, what it means, preferably in context, and to ask how it applies to me. I seldom have time to actually study inductively, but I’m quite familiar with commentaries, my bible dictionary, exhaustive concordance and so forth. But honestly, I didn’t think the scripture in question was unclear or hard to understand in a way that such things would be necessary. Nor was I teaching the class that night. I was merely throwing out an insight that I believed to be from the Lord, hopefully for mutual edification.
I guess I am looking at it again because in a few years, I may be living in a much more liberal area, where my viewpoints might be considered more controversial than where I live now. There must be a way to talk to those with whom we don’t always see eye to eye without people getting all huffy and shutting down the discussion. Otherwise, we simply retreat to our various camps and learn nothing about other viewpoints and everyone starts killing each other because they can’t get along. Yet we are called to be peacemakers.
I suppose, if I were in charge, I would start with a little speech like my spiritual dad sometimes gave us. He said, if he taught something we didn’t like or disagreed with, we should go home and study our own bibles. If after study, we just couldn’t come to the same conclusion as he did, then we should feel free to disregard it. If more people were taught to do that, I think we’d have a lot more peace in the churches! So often, one sees some sort of all or nothing thinking. It reminds me of my siblings growing up. If I disagreed with them, then of course I must be stupid. And yet we are very different personality types. I think they have become somewhat more accepting as they have gotten older. Of course, living apart from one another helped!
Anyway, I hope to get to know this individual a bit more in the the future. Maybe I can figure out something about how her mind works and what drives her. Who knows, perhaps we may even have something to teach one another. In any event, I don’t think God wants me to just stop offering my perspective in there. I tend to see things a bit differently, which sometimes makes me crossways to the norm. But I have come to see that that may be God’s point in having me there, to put a different spin on things and open up possibilities.