Sunday, March 04, 2012

Lent to Lent Bible Study

Funny how things turn out sometimes...

Back Story for those of you new to the scene: I come from an Anglican Liturgical family (my father, sister, brother-in-law, his father, my stand-in Godfather, the father of my Goddaughter... are all Anglican Priests). I love Anglican Parish life, singing in the choir and otherwise feel very at home in the Anglican Church, but I have always (as long as I can remember) felt somewhat at odds with the Christian Religion. My Spiritual beliefs fit well with the basics of Eclectic Wicca, but I have yet to find a group of Pagans with whom I feel at home. For over a decade I have been living as an "Angwiccan" or "Wiccapalian", sometimes being a parish social-light: baking communion bread, knitting prayer shawls, organizing giving tree projects etc... and sometimes practicing strictly Wicca at home.

 Now that I'm a mother, the issue of how to raise my son Spiritually has arisen, and it's an issue I feel very conflicted over. I love the Church for it's Parish Community, but not it's religion - and isn't it a bit hypocritical to practice a religion I don't believe in? Under that thought, with the exception of this past Christmas eve (as my mother was here), I haven't gone to church since we moved to Arizona two Easter's ago; that said, I haven't been a particularly good Wiccan either.

Recently I have been asking myself, "just what is that I have issues with regarding Christianity?", and although I could list a few things, the heart of the matter is I don't exactly know what my issues are (and isn't that stupid, feeling conflicted when I can't define the conflicts). Despite being from such a strong Anglican Liturgical family my Christian Theology is hazy at best; and if I am to determine if my practicing Anglicanism because I feel at home in an Anglican Parish is hypocritical (which is to say directly conflicts with my actual beliefs) then I'm going to need to deepen my understanding of Anglicanism/Christianity.  Where to start? Well the Bible, obviously. 

That said,I know the Bible isn't necessarily meant to be read cover to cover... so with the same question "where do I start" in mind I decide I should start going to St.Mary's, the parish I visited over Christmas and felt quite at home at. While looking on their website, what should I find but a reference to the 2012 Bible Reading Challenge, including a Lent to Lent daily readings list. I'm a little late to the game (as Ash Wednesday was February 22nd) however not so late that I'll have any issue catching up (I'll just read two days worth each day for a bit).

So - I accept the Lent to Lent Bible Reading Challenge; anything of particular interest that I find during my study I'll note here (as much to help with my own contemplation as with anyone else interests), and come Sunday will attempt to get to know the people at St. Mary's a little better.

Study Note: I am using the "Harper Collins Study Bible" NRSV, which per my father is thee Study Bible.


Katharyn said...

From my sister:

As my theology profs have said (at least I think they did) Faith is a journey, not a destination. It's the traveling not the getting there, the destination is the Divine. If you think you arrive (in this life time), look around you've probably lost your way. All of your soul searching and questioning and now studying (and I agree with you about the tenants of faith- I really didn't know much about the Bible, or Christianity until seminary) are all part of that journey- the path you're taking. I hope that this Bible study will be a spiritually fulfilling and holy experience for you no matter where it leads you. I'm glad that it includes study in community, because Bible study is best done with more than one- others will always see things you don't (or intrepid them differently) and you will bring your own unique eyes to the book.

Katharyn said...

From my brother-in-law

Hi Katharyn,
Lent is an excellent time to reflect on one-self and one's beliefs, but above all, one's relationship with the Holy. Where to begin? Simply begin . . . it doesn't matter where you start, only that you start. Lent, as with our Spirituality at any time is a journey, it is a journey into the soul where we can discover and re-discover new things about our selves and those we love. Good to hear that you have begun. Enjoy the journey, no matter how smooth or rocky it may be, all of it will be valuable.


Katharyn said...

From my mother:

I applaud your continuing search just wanted to make a few comments.

It has been my observation that you are already a Christ like person. Even as a child - you would give away your money to homeless people on the street instead of buying the candy you set out to get when you left the house. If someone needs feeding or listening too or friendship, you are always there for them. I see you as someone who gathers broken people and accepts them and helps them. You do this better than anyone else in this family. This is Christan behavior.

The bible is a good place to look but not the only place. St. Mary's is doing a course called Episcopal 101 at noon on Wednesdays I think. You might find this interesting. I think you will also enjoy the bells and smells etc at St. Mary's.

Enjoy the journey.

Katharyn said...

From Father Craig -
The opposite of faith isn't doubt, it's certainty.
Doubt is one of the engines of faith.
And any time we step outside our social/spiritual/ physical comfort zone we're in the realm of faith on one level or another.

'One of the things which turns a journey into The Journey (at least in a Christian sense) is when those steps of faith are made in response to God's wooing us into a closer and closer trust relationship with the One who loves us more than we can ever ask or imagine.