This week I highlight a few of the things I’ve been learning lately.
1. In our women’s Bible study, we’ve been learning from biblical culturalist Kristi McLelland through her The Gospel on the Ground: The Grit & Glory of the Early Church in Acts study. One of the biggest takeaways for me is the reminder that to better understand what we read in the Bible, we need to take time to understand the original hearers of the Word, their culture and their daily realities. We can more faithfully understand the biblical text and what it means to us today when we deepen our cultural and historical understanding.
2. In our mission to be communities of healing and hope, we have a lot to learn. One population who desperately needs God’s healing, hope and a community to walk with them are those in recovery from addiction. Often a taboo subject at church, a great place to start the conversation is through a book discussion such as The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addiction by Jonathan Benz with Kristina Robb-Dover.
3. When life has been turned upside down, when we are in crisis, we need loving people who speak God’s truth to us. One of those people to me is singer/songwriter JJ Heller. Her song “You Already Know” reminds us that God knows what we’re scared of and what we hope for, and “Wherever I’m going, You’re already there.”
4. There are so many pieces of history that weren’t known/shared/taught relating to minorities in our midst. I recently read two titles that have continued to expand my knowledge of racism and the minority experience in the United States. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wiklerson (which includes a story about Newton, Kan., near where I live) and Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (telling of a horrible chapter in the history of my neighbor to the south, Oklahoma).
5. What is the Good News in your life? Sometimes the Good News that we need to hear most and share with the world around us is the basic message of God’s great love for us. Sometimes reading a children’s book reminds us of these simple truths. At my house, we love Good News! God Loves You by Glenys Nellist, which ends “And God will always love you. This good news is so true: Our great big God loves every part of perfectly precious you.” May you carry the truth of your belovedness with you this week.