In what some might see as a strange combination of enthusiasm and insanity, I have embarked upon the journey of Blogging Through the Bible in 90 Days . It's the reading equivalent of a speed-dating marathon.
To be sure, just praying the Daily Office involves a decent amount of Scripture reading, as does going to church on Sundays. But it's not the whole Bible. And even in my lay ministry classes, we haven't read the entire Old Testament. Dietrich Bonhoeffer recommended a systematic reading of the entire Bible, chapter by chapter, over and over again...but I found it difficult to sustain interest going at that slow pace. So when I read about the 90-day challenge, my overcaffienated self thought, Let's do it! So I am.
Meanwhile, the RevGalBlogPals have been discussing the discernment process, and specifically how we've dealt with roadblocks in that process. Elsewhere on my blog I've talked a bit about the positive ways in which I've felt called into a life of deeper spiritual practice and ministry to others...but I'm not sure if I've shared the negatives that provided the push to the positives' pull.
I used to be a regular participant on a Christian debate forum. This forum would regularly divide into us-vs.-them along a variety of lines, but particularly mainliners and socially progressive evangelicals squaring off against fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. One of the perennial slams I'd hear leveled at me, over and over again, was that mainliners didn't read the Bible, didn't understand the Bible, didn't respect the Bible. (And for people who happened to be gay mainliners/socially progressive evangelicals...well, guess.)
This of course cheesed me off no end, because for the most part it was a load of crap. (Although it was amusing to frequently find some excitable but not particularly literate individual lecturing someone else who -- unbeknownst to the first person -- was a member of the clergy on "what the Bible says.") But part of those charges stung, because I knew that I could learn more -- more than what I knew as a reasonably engaged layperson. And it also troubled me that a lot of what I did know about the Bible I had learned as a college undergraduate, longer ago than I cared to admit.
So at some point -- well before I found myself enrolling in my lay ministry program -- I resolved to learn more about the Bible; to be bold in engaging my antagonists in discussions about it from a mainstream perspective. And that is indeed what I have been doing.
So in an ironic way I have to thank them for helping to irritate me right into a more serious study of Scripture. As I told one of them once, "Be careful what you pray for."