Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Time to Rant

Ok, a little rant in the next few paragraphs. Because this is on my mind, and I haven't been able to shake it. To set the scene, since January, I've been going to a women's Bible study in English. Which is very good and fine, and I think it's helpful for me to be there, overall. Especially because looking into the Word gets my mind off myself (which is where it's tended to focus quite often the last year and a half) and onto paying more attention to God and other people.

But. There's something that's been bugging me. And I don't quite know what to do about it. Two very vocal women attend the same study. And when we split off, about a month and a half ago, into smaller groups, they just happened to pick the same small group which I'd chosen (I didn't know this ahead of time).

The first woman, J., is a bit older than me, but not much. When she mentioned the college from which her daughter recently graduated, I said, "Oh! I went there too!" excited that we had something in common. Immediately, J. asked me, "Don't you think they've become really liberal? It's such a shame," and so on, and when I responded that I didn't really think my alma mater was moving down the path towards *intake of breath* liberalism, she continued to speak disparagingly about a college that I respect and of which I have fond memories, even if some of their stances are more conservative than mine at this point in my life. Then, a few weeks later, I heard J. telling another woman how fortunate she is that her son attends Bible school, rather than Wheaton! Excuse me? Aren't we as followers of Christ supposed to serve together, and "they'll know we are Christians by our love?" Am I being too idealistic?

My second beef: another young woman in my small group, L., is constantly letting the rest of us know that her Bible is the "only truly correct version." I believe that L. means well--but, unfortunately, so do some chefs, who then serve overdone fish and wilted lettuce. A few Thursdays ago, L. handed out a little pamphlet talking about how every translation but the King James Bible is a perversion and will lead us astray. I tried to dialogue with L., and mentioned how important it is to go back to the original languages to understand a passage fully, but she basically told me, "Why would I want to do that, when I have the version where it's already been translated the most accurately?" Aargh...I could shoot myself sometimes. (not really, don't get worried, hyperbole). L. each week leads the discussion away from the main question and back towards her favorite topic of how God has shown her the best Bible, and so we should just throw away our NIVs and NRSVs and any other versions, right now. The leader, sadly, doesn't seem able to divert L. and redirect the group to the current verses under study.

It's not that I avoid controversy. I'm just tired of conflict over silly things! Especially by Christians against other Christians -- who are also trying to obey God and live in this world in a way that faithfully reflects Jesus.

I'm still trying to decide whether to even engage further in disputes with the two women, or to just let it go and laugh (internally) if they start standing on their particular soapboxes. The latter route's the one I'm tending towards at the moment. What would you do? At first, I wanted to stop going, but that's a cop-out.

Addendum: As I read over this post later, I hope it doesn't come across whiny or arrogant. Frustrated would be the tone I'm wanting to communicate...And also, just so you know, I don't really like the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as a way of putting someone or something in a box; just couldn't think of another way to say it.


don't eat alone said...


I understand your frustration. Life's too short for these kinds of ridiculous arguments. My two nephews will both be at Wheaton this fall and are so excited. Taking yourself out of the conversation doesn't have to be a cop out. If the group leader isn't willing to step up and stop the dynamic and you only end up frustrated, why stay there? Can you go to a different small group?

I'm trying to say I'm listening and I understand more than saying what I think you should do. Sorry if I sound too instructive.


Africakid said...

Thanks, Milton, for your comments! I actually have thought about switching small groups, and may try that if the dynamics don't change soon. I'll probably go to this group a few more weeks and then re-evaluate.

Anonymous said...

I think it's good that you have a way of humourously looking at things Mom. I know how frustrating that can be, labels can be an issue at Calvin too. Thanks for the birthday message.
-David (Javier)

beth said...

Laurie - not that you need advice after just airing your frustration, but here's what I've learned - you'll NEVER win an argument with a fundamentalist. I hate labels, too; but it seems that you're describing folks who've put themselves in a box and refuse to peek outside. They're not looking for dialogue but a chance to plunge a stake into the ground. Shake the dust off and look for the quiet person in your group that might be overwhelmed by what she's hearing. Your actions will be observed and perhaps have an impact. Most people just want to be heard.