Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I have been training my replacement at my current job. It is interesting to see the places communication fails. I am speaking everyday with a vocabulary he is still learning. Acronyms abound at my job. We even go so far as to reuse acronyms, in which case the meaning can only be determined by the context. In the two years I have worked at this plant, I have learned the importance of communication. I've made my share of mistakes. Things that make sense to me can be incredibly confusing. For example, asking someone to increase the vacuum in a process seems clear, but to INCREASE the vacuum you need to DECREASE the pressure. =)

My senior year of college I was taking a Portuguese class to improve my reading, grammar, and writing since I learned the language almost entirely orally from my mom. I had a Portuguese Bible that my uncle had given to me, so I started trying to read the same passage in English and Portuguese. The first thing I learned is that biblical language is difficult, but as I struggled through my Portuguese Bible, I was surprised by the things I had taken for granted when reading my Bible in English. Reading the same story in another language gave the text more depth and beauty. I had to slow down. I had to struggle through the words. I had to read the words deliberately, not just glancing over the words in expectation of the next familiar words.

I am looking forward to learning new languages in Sudan. I will make mistakes. I will be misunderstood. But that happens even when I speak English. I also hope that I will continue to be surprised by new perspectives.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Graduating from Bible Study?

A friend recently asked me if I would still go to Bible study if I had memorized the entire Bible.

For me the answer to that question is a resounding yes. I will never 'graduate' from Bible study. Even if I had obtained a degree in some sort of Biblical studies, I would still go to Bible study.

For me, Bible study is about so much more than studying scripture.

It is about sharing in the lives of women, holding each other accountable, praying for each other, hugging each other in times of joy and in times of sorrow, making happiness kabobs (don't ask), asking questions without fear, encouraging each other, learning about the character of God, praising God when he provides and is faithful in our lives, confessing our sins to each other, thanking God for his many blessings in our lives, making new boyfriends fumble awkwardly for words when they meet us all at once, learning from each other, acknowledging our unique gifts, having wonderful potluck dinners, claiming the truth of scripture, renouncing lies that are told to us day in and day out, and so much more.

I don't want to minimize the actual studying of the Bible that happens at Bible study. If you come, you would find us reading and studying the visions of Daniel, the plagues in Exodus, a perfect love described in 1 John, the acts of the apostles, and so much more. You may think we are strange, laugh a lot, and don't always make sense, but that is our Bible study.

And the Bible is so much more than I could ever describe. Even when I read verses that I have read and studied previously, I continue to learn more about God and what is true. I could say more, but I am repeating words, so I will stop. The conclusion remains that I will never 'graduate' from Bible study.

Psalm 119