Sunday, October 03, 2010

I heard the "c" word quite often at the women's Bible conference this weekend.

No, not "church," nor "Christ," nor that other word, not even "coffee," but "caffeine." Maybe I'm just more sensitive since I've given it up. But even when I had an addiction, I don't recall myself being so open about needing my fix. I felt a bit like a recovering alcoholic because cans of Pepsi and Coke were readily available on ice for nothing. But I stuck to my Seagram's ginger ale and thought it a shame there wasn't any rum.

The final small group session had us study Ps. 73, looking for the central idea. I had plenty of prior experience with this psalm because I presented it at a Bible study last summer. We broke out into a smaller group of only three and went to an area with a library. Frankly, there were books strewn about all over the church hall, like most church halls. But this spot held a concentration of volumes and so, was referred to as "the library."

Earlier I had looked at the spines of the books. The one that caught my eye was a very old hardcover called The Secrets of Romanism. I flipped to the opening page and read that this book - or any other - is unnecessary because the best book against Catholicism is THE BIBLE. Then Zacchello should have left it at that. I was tempted to "misplace" the book somewhere on the shelves, but instead I reasoned that none would be inclined to read such a book.

I tried to explain the narrative of Ps. 73 to my two partners but they weren't interested in listening to me, at least at first until they saw that I had a decent handle on it. Still, we weren't the only small group in the library so the conversations of others interfered with my partners' concentration. Somewhat uncharacteristically I was able to tune out the others perhaps because they sat to my "deaf" side, i.e., my right.

We returned to "present" to the rest of our small group who also worked Ps. 73. They grasped the flow of the narrative quite well also. The central idea that I saw was something like "the psalmist's belief in retribution theology is reaffirmed by what he hears in the Lord's sanctuary," presumably the preaching of the Old Testament. But the other group came up with "God is good when he is near" or, something like that, and allusion was made to Christ's incarnation, his "tabernacling" with us, as John 1:14 puts it. I think our respective approaches reflect our religious sensibilities, Catholic and Protestant.

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