Sunday, February 02, 2014

Sunday Snippets

The Tuesday evening Bible study of Romans (Parts I, II and coming soon, III) has been put off schedule of late due to bad weather. The ladies have joked that God has a thing for Tuesdays because snow hit on Dec. 10th, 17th and January 21st. The Christmas party was postponed until January 14th!

But we met on the 28th and the leader began by expressing her profound sadness over a Catholic funeral she'd attended that morning. It's quite out of the ordinary for her to talk about personal experiences although she does often complain about the unsaved. They frustrate her greatly and Catholics at funerals are no different.

I don't know where the funeral was held or for whom. It doesn't really matter, even though I am curious. I have to believe that she was acquainted with the deceased and that the elderly woman was not a family member. She said that she did nothing during the service but pray fervently to God that those in attendance would come to know him. She said the words all sound right, unless one happens to know, but none of it is pleasing to God. She was surprised to hear Scripture read but since it wasn't preached upon, instead the deceased's life was honored, it was empty. She said that she almost fell over when they started to sing "Holy, Holy, Holy," because it sounded so beautiful, but again, it wasn't really.

It sounds, from her description, that this was her first time at Catholic liturgy of any kind but that she'd already made up her mind about it.

After this "rant" - her own word for it - we got down to studying the word. A participant asked the meaning of Romans 8:17 -
and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Commenting on her question about the verse's meaning, I made a general observation to the group that interpretation is complicated further by the fact that "Him" has been supplied by the editors; the word doesn't appear in the original. To every participant, this was a revelation! How did I know this without the original in front of me?! I simply said that's how the NASB operates, that's how the editors have decided to present the text. I knew this because long ago I'd read the Preface to the New American Standard Bible1, as I always read the front matter of reference and other important books. In the Preface, the editors explain their choices in representing the text. Italicized words have been added to the original. How could these ladies do any accurate work in this translation of the sacred text without being aware of specific format? Did they think the italics implied emphasis?!

Thursday morning during brunch at the Allenwood study of Hebrews, a woman mentioned her son attends a Catholic high school. I was surprised and listened to her happy experience with the school. Her son loves the school very much, as well. But she conceded to me, in a confidential tone, "The religion is a bit off, of course." Of course. Her son's grade in Religion is among his lowest.

Why this sudden uptick in anti-Catholic sentiment? I've been in these Bible study settings for years and have only encountered the occasional negative comment. Am I just growing more sensitive, suspecting it's something more systemic, even deliberate? Perhaps. My hunch is that Francis's popularity even among liberal Protestant Christians has put conservative Protestant Christians on alert. They must stem the tide, nip any Protestant flirtation with Roman Catholicism in the bud.
1 "EXPLANATION OF GENERAL FORMAT ... ITALICS are used in the text to indicate words which are not found in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek but implied by it." Preface to the NASB, Bible Researcher (an excellent website)