Wednesday, February 07, 2007

So Just What Bugged Me? :)

My hubbie is home and is waiting to learn what bugged me today at Coffeebreak.

I'm beset now with feelings of, maybe I expect to much. And that perhaps that's what the problem me.. not what is taught. Maybe I should be content that some teaching is happening, whether that teaching is complete or not. And then I wonder, well, am I angry about it because I feel like I was "patted on the head"? I don't know all the answers. I really don't. All I know is that I feel very discontented about this whole thing.

I will freely admit I don't like topical studies. I find that most of the time verses are used out of context. That questions are worded in such a way that a certain answer is wanted, whether the text supports it or not. I like studying the bible. I do like doing word studies as I find they can be absolutely fascinating, but most group studies don't do word studies. :)

What we're studying in Coffeebreak is "discover the fruit of the spirit". I do like the emphasis that the fruit of the spirit is just that.. THE FRUIT of the spirit. They are all connected. They are all evident in the lives of every believer, just some more evident than others in a particular person. BUT evident in all none-the-less.

Today we studied chapter six "kindness and gentleness - the incomparable riches of grace".OUr Scripture was Eph 2:4-9, Titus 3:3-7, Lk 6:35-36, Eph 4:32, Eph 4:2, and Phil 4:5.

Eph. 2:4-9 says
4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The question was asked: What motivated God's kindness to us?
My response was "so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" pat on the head, No's a bit earlier than that. "Because of the great love he had".
I said yes,'s so that he can show the riches of his grace to us.

No, it's all about love. Nothing more, nothing less. Just his love and how much greater his love is than ours.

I know God's love is important. But God's love always has a reason. He doesn't just have the warm fuzzies for us. AND that's the impression that was given. God has the warm fuzzies for us so he sent his son to die for us.

That is not why.

I don't know. Maybe I'm being too nit-picky. But I want MORE than just God's love given as a reason. I love my son. I love him to bits and pieces. I would never send someone to die for him. I just wouldn't do that. And yes, I know, I'm not God...but I was made in his image. God didn't just send his son to die for us. He had a reason. His love yes, was a motivator, but the motivator was more than that. God sent his son to die for us because it was a way to show his love SO THAT his glory can be seen.

See, it's more than love. It's love with purpose and meaning. It's not just the warm fuzzies in a bigger than we can understand way.

It's like the tv show, touched by an angel. The "lesson" you hear over and over again in that show is "god is love so everything will be okay". Poppycock.

Yes, God is love, but God is WAY more than just love.

They pulled other stuff out of this passage to that just made no sense to me, when they asked about what good things show God's kindness. It's like HUH? What is this? Where did you get this from? And because it made no sense to me I tuned it all out.

What else bugged me?
Just the little things of equating kindness with mercy. To me they are sorta alike but different. I can be kind to anyone. Doesn't matter if I like them or not. Doesn't matter is they are good to me or not. You need a sandwich, a drink a yah go. Yup...use the bathroom too. Go ahead. It's shoveling the neighbours walkway just because.

MERCY... is when I stop myself from slapping someone upside the head because they are doing something wrong. Ie. not pressing charges against the thief.

Kindness might seem like mercy, but the undertone is different.

Grace is being nice, and showing kindness to someone despite the fact that they deserve a slap upside the head. Offering a cup of tea to the person who just robbed your house AND not pressing charges against them.

I disliked the insistence that they are the same. And I know, it's because I like words. I like trying to use words that are accurate, and when I teach or am being taught, I think it's really important to use the right words.

Anyways, I'm feeling somewhat less angrified... But still bugged.


Rileysowner said...

Frankly hun, that would have sent me over the deep end as well. The answer that it is because of his love begs the question, why would God love us? We are dead in our sins and trespasses. We are following the pattern of living of this world that is corrupt and in rebellion against God. We are following the prince of the power of the air who works in those who are disobedient. We are in our very nature people who deserve wrath. Why would God love us? In fact it begs a bigger question, how can God remain just and holy, and still love wretched sinners who have spat in his face and committed high treason against him.

Annette said...

I'll have to ask that sometime. How do they think a great and holy God would just love us? the WHY of his love is so important.

j a n said...

I don't think you're being nit-picky. You're asking valid, intelligent and really important questions. I'm often frustrated with "curriculum" type Bible studies for the same reason: overly simplistic questions/answers, and a seeming aversion to any sort of discussion.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I like yours - enjoy your perspective.

Annette said...

So jan...what do you do when you are frustrated with a bible study? I don't want to go back to not going to a bible study...and days work best for me with a little boy ... so I don't have a lot of options. I'm just wondering what to do now. :)

Mary said...

I agree with your other commenter's...I'd be bothered by this also. How can they dismiss your answer? They missed the whole awesome point, and what a grand discussion was bypassed...

If you do quit attending this one, why not start one yourself? Are there any others on the same page as you that thirst to dig deeply? There's always somebody, problem is that it's hard to find them!

I've always wanted to start up a mom's group that met once a week, and had elderly women in the church babysit the children for free while the moms spent 2 hours in Bible study, or listening/watching cds/dvds on parenting and/or marriage. You could never exhaust the topics out there and what an encouragement you could be to each other...reaching out to unbelieving sahms in the process.

I enjoyed your post,

Annette said...

Mary, starting a bible study is something that my hubbie has frequently suggested to me. I have to admit, I feel a bit daunted by the leading a group bible study for others? Leading can be hard and I don't always know if I have time for it. :) But next year I won't be doing Sunday School that might be a possibility.

I am considering starting a "time out for homeschoolers" time. I read about one church that is really deliberate about reaching out to homeschoolers in their area, and it struck me as a really cool idea. Pray with me will you, as I try to figure out what God wants of me in this area. Thanks.

Mary said...

I am praying for you, just did in fact! You know, you could browse the Bible study guides at a Bible book store to get ideas...a friend and I did one together online actually, in a chatroom, we called it our CBS (chat bible study) and met every Monday night while her husband was at choir practice and mine was busy elsewhere. I think it was titled, Friendships of Women by Dee Brestin. Or you could get a FANTASTIC book, called Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and read a chapter a week to discuss together. Sometimes the best Bible studies start informally like that. Moms getting together...encouraging each other and learning.

So you homeschool? That is so neat. I'm glad you commented at MInTheGap..which is where I stumbled onto you in the first place. I think a "time out for homeschoolers" is a great idea. Very needed too.

God bless!

Annette said...

Sorry I'm late with responding... but yes, we homeschool. Granted our boyo is only 19 months but plans are well underway.. and he is learning. :) Nice to know I can keep it up too!

So, just how does one find someone to do an on-line bible study? I think that would be neat.

jen elslager said...

Great thought provoking post. You've hit on something that bugs me too. Most of the "Bible studies" I've been involved with are 95% fluff. Few groups seem to want to really dig deeper. It has seemed to me at times merely a religious thing to be involved in -- just to be able to say you were doing it.

Or sadly, many times the study time is spent just jabbering. Girl talk. And more sadly, sometimes gossip. Defeats the entire purpose. I quit going to one because of that.

That online thing sounds interesting to me too.

Annette said...

I have to admit Jen, I think it would be fun to do an online study... problem would be finding the right person (or people) and then the right thing to study.....

If you're interested, perhaps we can figure something out....

jen elslager said...

Actually, that sounds very interesting. If you're aware of something, let me know!

I personally don't know of any chat rooms. But I'm sure they're easy to find.