Monday, December 29, 2008

Emotional Bible studies

Well I had a wonderful Christmas break! I hope the same goes for anyone and everyone reading this. I will be posting pictures from the week sometime soon.

What I wanted to share today is my new realization that I do not do well with "emotional" Bible studies. If I open up a Bible study book and it says "How do you feel about this?" my immediate reaction is to walk straight to the trashcan and drop the book in. In fact, I've become quite talented at getting about one chapter through a book and then sending it to Goodwill (or recycling it if I don't want to encourage people to read it). I'm still thinking and contemplating why I feel this way and when it began. There was a time when the only Bible studies that captured my attention were the emotional ones.

I think that underlying it all is the knowledge that emotions are fleeting, unstable, and untrustworthy. If I have to feel emotional and excited to get closer to God, what will I do on the days when I'm feeling downhearted and sad? What about the days when I'm bored with life? Or the days when all I have to look forward to is a long to-do list? What happens then? And what about the fact that my emotions and my reactions to them have gotten me in trouble one too many times?

I have encountered a great struggle with the Beth Moore study my church is currently hosting. After talking with Dave, I've decided to stop participating in the study, which makes me sad. I have gotten to know some wonderful girls through my small group. However, every week I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with the Bible study, and it was carrying over and affecting my feelings toward the church. I decided to stop the study before my perception of my church was permanently stained. Beyond the emotionalism that her study encourages every week, I feel that Moore extrapolates and makes claims for which she provides little scriptural evidence. If her claims are true, then that's great. But she does not always provide references, and oftentimes when she does I do not see the link to what she is saying. I also have a hard time accepting scripture mixed with psychology within a Bible study. I want to learn about the Bible. I want to learn about God. I don't want to learn about all the fleeting emotions I can experience and see how those temporarily affect my perceived connection with God. I want solid, permanent, tried and true truths.

This is not to completely bash on Moore. I think she is a wonderful lady, and I know she has touched many lives. I firmly believe she is a follower of Christ and wants to bless others. However, her style and approach to Scripture do not set well within me, and so I've decided that her studies and books are not for me. I am very happy for others who are able to grow closer to God through her guidance.

If you'd like to read more from others who have opinions similar to mine, along with responses from strong supporters of Moore, check out the following links:

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