I hadn’t planned to do a post this week. I’m in the end of term madness and I really have to find time to do a bare minimum of communicating with the people who live with me, but because I was working anyway, I checked in with the chat on Twitter and two things happened that had me reflecting, in part, on what I read and in part of how I feel about what I’m doing.
First, there was what I can only think of as a Twitter troll who appeared to let us know that she felt the goal of reading the Bible in 90 days is pointless. Her feeling was that if you’re not studying deeply, then you’re not taking Bible reading seriously. She then went on to explain that her minor in the Bible in college created this reverence for study of the Bible. At the time, I responded and pointed out that any reading is better than no reading and that there’s value in reading quickly as well as in studying deeply.
But now that I’ve had a little time to reflect on her comments, I have to wonder about her sincerity about taking the Bible seriously in the first place. It’s pretty clear to me that in Proverbs those who mock the sincere efforts of others are not on the side of Right. And, to me, that’s what it felt like she was doing. Mocking the sincere efforts of a group of men and women to accomplish the goal of reading the whole Bible (well, minus apocrypha, but still). Now I wonder if I should have engaged with her at all. The English professor in me (which admittedly, is no small part) was a bit riled up that anyone would discourage reading at any pace. I don’t think that it’s true that the only way to gain value in something is to study it deeply. There is value in surface reading, and to suggest that there isn’t seems to me to be the work of someone who wants to undermine the whole effort/enterprise. And I think that’s a shame.
But the title is weird feelings and I’m having them. I don’t really fit in with this group that I’m reading with. Some of the women (it’s primarily women in the Twitter chats, though today’s check in post at Mom’s Toolbox is written by a guy) are, for lack of a better way of expressing it, very religious. They feel “convicted” by things. They’re not uncomfortable at all to say they’re praying for people or that they’re thankful for Jesus and so forth and so on. These are not sentiments that trip off my tongue. I’m not even sure what it means to be convicted.
And this is why it feels so weird to me, while I was defending this enterprise and arguing with this person, a small voice in my head was going, maybe she’s right. Maybe this isn’t the “right” way to read the Bible. Maybe you should drop this and try reading smaller portions every day for the rest of the year or something like that.
I thought about that little voice and how insidious it sounded. I wondered what about the timing. We’ve reached the halfway point. We’ve been meeting and talking every Monday since the beginning of January. Why did someone show up now, right when we’re getting to the “hard part.” And I wonder if I suddenly feel so conflicted because she voiced a thought that I have rolling around in the back of my head, but I know that’s not it. For me, it’s more of a “who are you to do this?” I’m not a particularly strong believer. I know that, comparatively, I am nowhere near the level of most of the women I’m reading with. I get confused by things that they say: they’re uncomfortable reading the Psalms because of David’s sin. And I don’t understand that. Is David not allowed to sing praises to God because he broke commandments?
And please understand, if you’re reading this, I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have those feelings or shouldn’t express them, I’m just saying that I find them confusing. Maybe if I felt more grounded in “the church” or if I felt more of the call that they seem to feel from God then I would understand more.
I guess this is all to say that I’m a bit confused about why I’m doing this. It doesn’t mean I’m stopping, but I’m not sure what I’d hoped to get out of it is in any way the same as what everyone else seems to be getting out of it. I’m feeling a little lost, I guess. I don’t know.