Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Saturday evening, while I was sitting at home not celebrating the New Year's Eve, I got a text from my mother inviting me to church the next day. How could I say no? Come on, can you say no to your mother when she asks you to go to church?
So I responded with a positive answer. It wasn't as if I had made plans for my Sunday morning. I had no reason to say no.
And then Sunday morning came. It was a new day, a new month and a new year. I showed up at church right on time. It's the church where I grew up. A church I've only visited a handful of times since I left it in high school. Mom and my sister have started going back there in the last few years.
I walked into the sanctuary and really didn't see too many people that I recognized. But that's how it goes in life. People change and the ones that I did recognize, I honestly couldn't remember. Sure, there were a few people I genuinely knew. But it was a little awkward. So I stood in the back, waiting for Mom or April to walk in. I definitely needed someone to sit with.
April got to me first. And she handed me a book. I was taken a little off guard by this sudden generosity. I mean, Christmas was the previous week and my birthday is three months away. New Year's gifts are not a family tradition that I'm used to. So here I was, holding this book that I had done nothing to deserve.
"Yeah, I had an extra one, so it's yours," she said. "We're going through one chapter a week for the next 31 weeks."
"Oh, cool," I said, kind of thinking it was a Sunday School thing. No... turns out it was a Big Church thing.
The book is The Story. From what I can tell, it's kind of an abridged NIV Bible. It's compiled in chronological order. And I'm not sure I'm a fan of it.
Honestly, my thoughts on this The Story is that it's a lot like the original book version of The Princess Bride. Written by William Goldman, it's written as if it's an abridged or "good parts version" of a novel by S. Morgenstern. I hate thinking that The Story is the "good parts version" of the Bible. But it kind of seems that way.
It has selected passages of actual scripture with italicized paragraphs bridging the gaps between the interesting parts. I've only read through the first chapter, which covers creation and the fall of man. Oh, and the flood. So yeah, I'm not sure I like it much.
I can understand how it would be a good idea for new Christians. 'Cause yeah, there are a lot of places in the Bible that are difficult to get through. But is this the kind of book that should be used week to week for the Sunday morning worship service? I'm not sure I think it's a good idea.
Maybe I'm just making excuses.
Also, isn't a 31 week study kind of a large commitment to ask one to take? I get a six week series. 31 weeks carries you all the way to the end of July.
Crap... I am just making excuses to not get involved.
I got a free copy of the book that the church is using for the next 31 weeks. And by having me there for the first part of the long series, I think my family is hoping that I'll show up week after week through the end of July. Seems kind of sneaky if you ask me.
I made no guarantees about committing to 31 weeks. Maybe I will. This week will be very telling. I haven't been to the same church two weeks in a row in a long time. It may say a lot about me if I go back for week two.