Most of the questions about the Bible study are still to be decided, and we will address those tonight. We have not made a final decision about whether this is to be a woman’s-only study, or whether men will be able to participate, although we are leaning towards OK’ing men’s participation. We have not made final decisions on format, or on what we mean by “study” — like how much original language work we want to do, whether we will use commentaries, etc.
The primary purpose of the study is simply to exercise our “thinking faith,” and to deepen our appreciation of and familiarity with the Biblical text, together.
Of course, since it is a Women’s Center study, we will be intentional about attending to the way(s) gender figures in the text and our reading of the text. We may find we want to identify texts where gender themes are especially prominent. But I hope we will resist that temptation — and not just because I already have a set of texts to study for Sunday mornings! It’s because my philosophy is simply this: gender is ubiquitous. In other words, every Biblical text has a gender dimension, includes or excludes its readers as gendered beings, and contributes to our [always gendered] understanding of reality. While our gender calls attention to itself as salient more at some times than at others, we are never apart from it. Consequently, we always read the text as gendered readers. We do not really need to go out of our way to find texts that will give a group that wants to pay attention to gender questions plenty to consider.
Besides that, just as women’s issues are human issues, human issues are women’s issues — women being people, as it’s our mission to remind ourselves and our world. Bible study is essentially a practice that focuses attention on the relationship of humanity to God, God to humanity. Like life itself, it is an open invitation to people created in the image of God, male and female. A Bible study like this will, we trust, be a vehicle for coming to a deeper and more searching understanding of what that means, whatever specific texts we read.
We are looking forward to the meeting tonight, at 6:30 p.m., in the Women’s Center. All are welcome!