Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the letter that i wish i had the courage to send

Dear Bible Study Teacher,

I want to start by saying that I have enjoyed our Bible Study for 6 years now. Each year my knowledge of the Bible grows and I am drawn into a more intimate relationship with Jesus. I am so thankful for that. I appreciate the fact that our Bible Study is almost exclusively a Bible Study. It is not a mom’s group where I am told how to be a good wife and where I have to listen to other moms’ stories. It is not a therapy group where everyone bares their souls and gets a lot of unsolicited advice in return. It is not a complaint time where everyone moans and groans about how hard their life is. While there is a place and time for all of these things, I am thankful to have a place to escape to each week where I am fully immersed in the Bible- reading, discussing, and being taught over. I believe I will be a better wife, mother, friend, neighbor, and citizen simply by knowing the Bible.

Having said that, I also have to say that I am concerned with how much politics is being brought up in your lectures. Actually, concerned is too kind of a word. I am upset and sometimes even outraged. I know that we share very different political views and that is not my problem with you. My problem is that you are using your role up front to make blanket political statements concerning Christianity and personal attacks. You only speak of “evil” as homosexuality and abortion. I wonder how this makes the women listening to you who have struggled with homosexuality or have had an abortion feel? I would guess that they feel alienated, lonely, and shameful. I can’t remember Jesus ever making anyone feel like that when he walked the earth (except maybe the Pharisees). I have to wonder if you lived in Jesus’ time how you would have felt about who he hung out with? I believe that you are missing out on one of the greatest Biblical truths- Jesus loved sinners. And when I say loved, I mean he spent time with them, was in relationship with them, and even spoke up in their defense. When a woman who was caught in the act of adultery was about to get stoned to death, Jesus stepped in and said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” In case you needed other “evils” to speak of (you know, to break up the monotony) here are a few the Bible speaks of: greed, deceit, slander, arrogance, envy, strife (bitter conflict), gossip, and selfish ambition.

I have to admit that I even stopped coming to Bible Study for a few months when you insinuated that Obama is the anti-Christ. When I came back I had to hear your assurances that Jesus will be coming back soon after November 4th and how our nation is ripe for a Godless leader. Since when did a man who has repeatedly and publicly professed his salvation in Jesus become “Godless” (check it out here and here)? And you know what, I don’t even need Obama’s public professions- I can look at the way that he has lived his life, where he spends his time and money, and his compassion and sense of justice and know that he is a follower of God. To quote Obery Hendricks, “In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches that if we are to judge each other at all, it must be by the standard of whether we are trying to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless.”

I know that you are a woman who loves the Lord and seeks after Him daily. I am not questioning your character or trying to change your vote. I am simply asking for our Bible Study to be a Bible Study. As a politician once said, “No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack. They don't want faith used to belittle or to divide. They're tired of hearing folks deliver more screed than sermon."

Sincerely, Sarah Goodfellow

5 comments:

Breanne said...

COME ON!

Caroline said...

Please send it. Those words need to be heard.

Anonymous said...

Call her up and go out to coffee and let her know what you're thinking, her paradigms need to be challenged!

much love, Thrash

Melissa said...

I'm pretty sure in the Bible it says don't judge lest you be judged yourself. Too many fundamentalist "Christians" out there think you can't be a Democrat and be a Christian. I don't agree with that at all. Let's hope we can turn NC blue on Tuesday! Tell your folks to get out the word! ;) Hopefully, we can get in the White House and provide real working change come January 20th!

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
I can't thank you enough for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I have been running up against the same frustrating rhetoric from my conservative religious family members. And my thoughts mirror yours. Thank you Thank you for so eloquently expressing your argument for Obama. I look to you as the best possible Christian out there..you practice loving others and fixing yourself..vs loving yourself and fixing others. Thank you for being such a wonderful role model. Stacy Shields Walker