Monday, January 15, 2007

Filling the Gap

The only thing that is missing from my new-found Catholic experience is scripture study. I realize there isn't much going on (relatively speaking) in this area but I do sorely miss it from Protestant days gone by.

While growing up as a Presbyterian (term used lightly), there was a heavy emphasis studying the Bible and experience of faith. Sunday school was taught by using Bible lessons and workbooks to drill the Bible stories into our heads, which it did. Of course we also learned that all we needed to do was pray to Jesus and we were saved. That happened every single week, though we were taught once was enough. (never understood that one) Christmas time meant all of the classes got together to put on a play. We learned the Bible stories really really well, and I'm grateful for that because its something I'll always have.

Later on in middle and early high school we had Youth Group . My leaders were energetic, bold, and even a tad controversial to the rest of the congregation. They were sincere evangelicals bordering on Pentecostalism. Every meeting was half Bible study - half activity. I really enjoyed it. But somewhere in there my leaders got fed up with the Presbyterians and formed a new denomination...and then another...and so it goes. But I digress.

All of that scripture study instilled in me a strong faith. It gave me a seeking faith. One that, even though I "believed", it wasn't enough. Perhaps that was God's will.

Over all of my years as a Presbyterian we never, and I mean never, discussed Christian history, theology, Tradition, or ecclesiology. At least I have no memory of any of that. It was all Bible, all the time.

So now I have the near complete opposite. Here I am nearing the completion of my catechesis and I think we used the Bible 3 times in my lessons? I used to bring one to my sessions but I stopped doing that a few months ago when I realized it wasn't necessary any longer. We talk about the scripture but we don't study it.

I realize the reason for this of course. The Catholic Church uses Sacred Scripture as an addition to the Faith already practiced, while Protestants cling to it as being their only light to the Faith. In other words, in the Catholic Church God "speaks" to us in 3 ways - Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium, while many Protestants believe scripture to be the only word of God. I don't want to argue this point, as that is not my intention here.

What I'm trying to say in a round about way is that I miss the scripture study a great deal. And becoming a Catholic means that I now have a whole new reason to study scripture. I have Navarre commentary and one Ignatius Study book on the way but what I need is a group to study and discuss with. Yes, there are online scripture studies available but they just don't do it for me. I have tried the Catholic Exchange one and another promoted by Fr. Groeschel, but it just feels empty to me.

I try my best to study scripture now, a little bit each day, and sometimes while sitting with the Catechism or another book. EWTN also has Bible studies on periodically with which I follow along. So to that extent I am filling the gap in small ways. Hopefully someday I will find a great scripture study outlet to add to my new experiences. My love for scripture is only bouyed by my new love for Tradition and the Church.


Chrissy Joy said...

i just wanted to point out that Methodism has the Wesleyan Quadrilateral of Tradtion, Scripture, Experience and Reason. And yes, scriptural study is very important...good luck.

Anonymous said...

Start your own

Moonshadow said...

Only graduate classes on Scripture at a nearby Catholic university satisfied my hunger for knowing the Bible better. But, after getting a degree, I had to leave! :-(

I suspect you would find academic settings too liberal in approach and interpretation.

I do like anonymous's suggestion! I hear it all the time!

Are you unwilling or unable to sit in a Protestant study? I realize such a suggestion is packed with pitfalls - things you'd have to deal with and handle - but it's better than nothing.

I've attended a couple of Protestant studies weekly over many years and, well, I've learned the Bible. I've also learned how to listen to others with whom I disagree (sometimes strongly) and how to express myself in return.

In short, sitting with other Christians taught me empathy.

Matt said...

I'm not opposed to sitting down with non-Catholics for Bible study. Though I'm not sure if they would take me.

As for starting my own. That would be an endeavor for sure. I'm not quite ready to do that at the moment.

I think I'm going to ask my Priest when he gets back from his vacation about this topic and see where it goes.

Lucia Rosa said...

Anyone in your family you could do it with? I remember Baron von Trapp (who had converted shortly before marrying Maria) said the same thing, so they started reading the Bible as a family.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton