What I Unintentionally Learned in CCS Bible Classes
Jenna Miller, Opinion Editor
Although I am only a sophomore, I have sat in my fair share of Bible classes since I first came to CCS in the sixth grade. For three years, I thought of it as no more than a required one-semester course that I would rather not take. In fact, I didn’t think much of the class at all. I didn’t feel the need to engage or interact with the material I was offered. That said, in the ninth grade something within me changed. My outlook shifted. Don’t misunderstand; I was not filled with joy every time I sat down in a yellow stadium-style seat, but by the end of the semester, I understood that the course as a whole did have something to offer to me. Here’s what I learned:
1. There is Value in Conflict: As a freshman, I spent most of my Bible classes hiding my cynicism under a furrowed brow and inquisitive expression. Some days, this look prompted Chaplain Travis Hutchinson to stop mid-lecture and ask me what exactly brought about such a skeptical demeanor. Most days, I shrugged it off and put my pen back on my paper. Occasionally, however, I would speak up. There would be, to some extent, a conversation. I now realize that these conversations, although fueled by my stubbornness, challenged me to be a better and more understanding listener.
2. Context is Key: Sometimes we stumble across verses that can sound harsh or frightening. For example, Exodus 22:18 commands that all those who practice witchcraft be put to death. While it’s undeniably wrong to practice witchcraft in the Christian faith, it’s most definitely a sin to murder people. If someone is not careful about context, verses like these could be abused. There are a lot of verses (1 Peter 2:18, Colossians 3:22) that sound as though they condone slavery, but in context, they are referencing a different institution dealing with debt and conquest in the 1st century A.D. The misconceptions with these verses speak to the importance of context.
3. God Wants our Questions...: It’s unhealthy to blindly follow the Bible. I’d even argue that’s not what God asks of us. There are troubling verses in Scripture, without a doubt. Some of them are easily reconciled by researching the culture of the times, but some others just baffle readers. I used to silence those questions thinking they were either irrelevant, disrespectful, or maybe I was just a bad Christian kid. As I learned more about the actual qualities of God, I realized that no question I ask will hurt Him. Such a great God will not be offended by the curiosities and confusion of a child.
4. But I’ll Never Have All The Answers: Sometimes, ambiguity in faith can be disconcerting. Despite inevitably having many questions, there is a level of mystery Christians have to come to terms with. There are some things that aren’t for us to know. (For instance, creation is one mystery after another. No one can say they really know how or when God created the universe.) It is up to us to realize that sometimes not knowing is part of life.
Overall, I would advise that you be open to experiences that don’t seem enjoyable to you. You might find they are the most important experiences of all.