Friday, May 01, 2009

When they just don't get it

Today was an interesting day. I got up bright and early this morning so that I could travel to Lincoln with my friend, Alison for a day of lectures on the research a group has done regarding why people own Bibles but never read them. The company is concerned with Biblical illiteracy and offered to teach us how to transform that.

I expected and anticipated an amazing day, filled with research results and data, dreams and plans for re-engaging our culture in Biblical perspectives and passion for the Bible.

What I got was so much less and I was so disappointed. By the time I had been there for less than 1/2 hour, I knew that this was a total bust. They just didn't get it. The hall was filled with men, 80% of whom were over 65 years old. Alison and I lowered the average age in the room and were two of a handful of women outside of the staff of the company. The lectures were about how things used to be and laments for the fact that we no longer had prayer in the schools and Bibles weren't allowed into our public schools.

When the main speaker came on board (a renowned author and Biblical apologist), I again anticipated something revelatory, but what I got was a dry lecture on why the Bible is inerrant. Powerpoint slides with too much information on them and absolutely no graphics, college lecture-style delivery (and boring at that), and no passion for the topic at hand.

By the time we got to the morning break, I looked at Alison and we began plotting our escape. We'd leave at lunch and not return for the afternoon sessions. And then, we realized that things weren't going to get better, we needed to leave soon.

The third speaker got up and rambled about his involvement in the research end of things, which led to the director of this entire research who rambled for over an hour about why research is important, telling us things that were inane and old information, using powerpoint slides that made no sense, and waiting the entire hour before beginning to come to the point of his lecture, which turned into a chance for him to preach about why the Bible was important to our lives today. But, it was a very negative talk about how our sin would be alleviated if we read the Bible. There was little talk of hope, just Pharisaical belief in the Bible.

Now, that all comes out sounding a little weird, because more than anything I believe in the power of the Word of God. I am passionate about teaching people about the Bible so that they engage with God's Word on a regular basis, because I know that it has the power to transform lives.

I NEVER heard anything like that today.

But, as I looked around the room, I realized I had been foolish to expect to hear anything like that. The day was a sales pitch for the donors and cronies that had supported the expansion of this research facility, it was not a real search for change. They fully expect that people will look to their old-style attitudes and accept them, rather than searching for ways to interact with a world that is rapidly changing.

It occurs to me that if they are really concerned that people younger than the age of 60 are not reading their Bibles and are really getting information from research to show why this is happening, the next step would be to engage those same people to find out what it is that they need or desire to find their way back into the Bible.

I learned a lot today, but not what I expected. I am beginning to refine the focus of my outlook.

Wasted day? Nope. I had a wonderful time with Alison, renewing our friendship, catching up on the exciting and terrifying things in our worlds. We had a fabulous lunch (Ryan's Bistro in Omaha - oh my goodness!) and I got home early enough so that poor Leica didn't have to spend an entire day waiting for someone to let her out.

So, do you read your Bible and if not ... why not? No, I really mean it, I'd like to know!

1 comment:

Dianna said...

I am an inconsistent bible reader- sometimes every day, but usually not. I seem to have two problems. One is a lack of priority. I often wait until I am done studying, doing dishes, etc. and then am too tired to squeeze in the bible reading. The other problem I have is boredom. I try to combat this by using a different version each time, or using a bible that incorporates short devotionals.