Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Biblical Theology

As a cradle-Catholic, my experience in reading the Bible, let alone knowing what it really means, has been limited. In high school I remember hanging out with the "Bible Study" group in an effort to find what I was craving. What I found, with that mostly Baptist group was valuable. I saw the Word in a different light. We weren't just reading the Bible, but we were "studying" it. Actually it was more like interpreting it. I didn't really read the Bible too much, just used the concordance and found scripture which related to the theme of what we were going to study.

From there I fell away from both the Word and from the Church for a time while I was in college. Recently, though, within the last two or three years, I have had a similar desire to know more. I started to listen to Alternative Christian radio, finding the lyrics and melody to my liking. I was tired of the crap I was hearing on the commercial stations and was drawn to something with more substance.

Within the last two years, I have become more active in my local parish, serving as Pastoral Council Chair and getting to know our pastor, Father Jim Sichko on a level I had not known other priests. He is my age, very energetic and has been transforming our Church back into a traditional Catholic Church with attention to reverence and Church teachings.

So the desire grew.

I began looking into places I could futher my knowledge of the Catholic Church, her teachings, her history, and what I as a Catholic needed to do. I joined the Knights of Columbus - but never went to a meeting. I still wasn't reading the Bible, though I did get through the first half of Genesis in a lame attempt to begin reading it from cover to cover. Still I had no guidance in reading it.

Note here that I have a BA in English, my teaching certification, an MA in Educational Leadership and am principal of a small Alternative school for at-risk youth. I know how to read. I love to read. I even began reading DC Talk's books on Martyrs and their evangelical book on the formation of the United States. Still, I didn't feel like I was getting what I needed to have.

I pray occasionally - the Rosary mostly, when I am in my car. I still don't feel like I am dong that right. I asked Father Jim for books I can read to further my knowledge and understanding of the Mass and the Church. He pointed me to a few. I have yet to buy them and read them.

I have always felt inadequate when discussing the Church with other people - especially with recent converts to the Church who have recently delved into the teachings. I am jealous of that. That desire and fresh understanding of what it means to be Catholic.

Then I found a website by Scott Hahn called the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He offers on this site beginner, intermediate and advanced online courses on biblical theology. He has archives of old courses to download and study. Their mission statement reads:

The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology is a non-profit research and educational institute that promotes life-transforming Scripture study in the Catholic tradition. The Center serves clergy and laity, students and scholars, with research and study tools from books and publications to multimedia and on-line programming.Our goal is to be a teacher of teachers. We want to raise up a new generation of priests who are fluent in the Bible and lay people who are biblically literate. For us, this means more than helping people to know their way around the Bible. It means equipping them to enter into the heart of the living Word of God and to be transformed and renewed by this encounter. We read the Bible from the heart of the Church, in light of the Church's Liturgy and living Tradition. In this way, we hope to help people experience the heart-to-heart encounter that Jesus disciples experienced on that first Easter night, when they knew Him in the breaking of the bread: Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us...while He opened to us the Scriptures? (see Luke 24:13-37 )

I think this is what I have been looking for. So, my goal is to work from the beginning. To relearn what I was taught in Catholic school. To begin again. Pray for me as I begin this journey. I don't know when I'll find the time - but I think it is important that I make the time and effort.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Boy, the Holy Spirit sure has been working on you! And, He never, never gives up. It sounds like you have had a spiritual journey similar to most "cradle Catholics." It will be interesting to follow your new journey with with you. I personally have found that the daily Mass readings have reintroduced me to the biblical side of my faith. I have been very fortunate in that our parish priest is an excellent homilist. I have learned so much from his excellent knowledge and presentation of these readings. I will be praying for you as you continue on your journey.