Twenty or more years ago, a couple groups of women in our present church went through the official intense “Kerygma” (I assume it’s an early version of this) Bible study. They finished the study, but some of them consolidated into one group and as far as I have gathered, have met ever since to read books together. Mostly, as far as I can tell, they’ve read pretty heady progressive theology (lots of Marcus Borg, I think).
I had seen this mysterious thing “Kerygma” in the bulletin since we started coming to the church, and I’d heard it mentioned occasionally, and I’d been curious. I eventually realized that several of my favorite people in the church–women I respect and with whom I love to chat, but who aren’t in the same “niche” as I am–were part of the group, and I decided it probably was not some mysterious, closed group. So, last Spring, when I was finished teaching but both kids were still in preschool, I asked about it. They were just about to start reading Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity After Religion, and I had been interested in the book, so I decided it was time to join.
I think they get a kick out of me coming, and I really like it. Rather than reading a set section and discussing it via study questions or what not, I was surprised to discover they simply read out loud from the book around the table and stop and discuss as the Spirit leads. It’s my favorite way to read in a group (and really one of my best teaching techniques when I teach literature–why I prefer teaching poems and plays to teaching novels). So we talk about the book and the church and God and life, and it’s really good stuff. It does take forever to get through a book (I keep reading blog posts from people who have read the same book in the last few months–we’ll be going for awhile yet), but I’m not troubled by that. Some of them read through the book more quickly and savor it with the group; some simply keep to the group pace and the reading is new on Fridays. So far that’s been my approach.
Being life-long church members, and having made a practice (Spiritual practice?) of reading and living theology for the last 20some years, these women have an amazing understanding and just storehouse of knowledge. I love taking it in.