Six years of BS

'Bible Study 2' photo (c) 2008, George Bannister - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Jesse, Liz, Nickie, Melissa, Maggie, and I have been meeting for Bible study on Tuesday night pretty much forever.   In September, we’ll celebrate six years together, which isn’t forever but I hope we have an anniversary party anyway.  It just seems like the right thing to do.

Half of the group is married, half of us are single.  Half of the group is moms, half of us are kid-less. And at least one of us has learned to be a kid person because of this group and because of their kids, which just goes to show how God can change a person when she’s engaged in community.  (I may or may not be speaking about myself on that one.)

My mom reminds me all the time how rare it is to find a group like ours. She says that for the fifty plus years that she’s been involved in church life that she’s never come close to having what we six have together.  She tells me that I need to treasure it, and that I need to keep sending the emails for prayer and reading the books even when I don’t like them, because this thing we have is a place of belonging that most people ache for.

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I am not always the most gracious of people, which I know will come as a shock to some, but when I take issue with things I really take issue and I get…um…snarky.  So when something popped up in our latest Bible study book that struck me the wrong way, I got belligerent with the fill in the blanks:

The question: What are some possible situations in your day ahead where you need to practice positive thinking and behaving?

My answer: Finishing this Bible study.

So, I sent Nickie a text message,

In other news, I’m having trouble getting into this Bible study.  I know people are all stoked and all, “This is exactly what I need!” but…this is not what I need and I’m suffering thru this woman’s fluffy writing. And I just needed to say it out loud.

I think perhaps one of the things I value most about our group is having people with whom to say it out loud.

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Nickie reminded me quickly that our group has always been about taking care of each other, and that probably no one would object if I chose to pick up another book in addition to the one we were working through as a group.

Enter Jen Hatmaker’s 7: An experimental mutiny against excess.

I’ve been Jen-obsessed since a friend of mine linked to her blog and I realized that she is a writer who loves Jesus and has a wrist tattoo.  In my world that’s about all it takes to make someone a sister of my soul, so I immediately bumped her book up to the top of my must-read list.

And for the last few days, I’ve been reading 7 and my not-favorite Bible study book at the same time. And it’s better this way because I realize that Jen’s book is meeting me where I am and the other book is meeting my friends where they are, and there’s no room for me to be judgey when it’s helping my friends, and isn’t that what I have always wanted for them over the last six years?

Yes. Yes, it is.

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Jen Hatmaker wrote 7 in the company of a group of friends that she calls The Council.  She shares emails and text messages and conversations that they had, and in every piece I hear the exchanges that I’ve had with the women of my Tuesday Night Bible Study.  I hear echoes of accountability and encouragement and even admonishment, but mostly I hear echoes of what it’s like to have a place you belong.

Every Tuesday night.  For the last six years.

Maybe it’s time to start thinking of a cool nickname as a part of our anniversary celebration.  Because it’s starting to get awkward talking about BS all the time.

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