The days have warmed, the sun has peaked out it’s head and it seems like it is finally time to start making plans for the summer. Part of those plans here at First Baptist Church in Essex include a summer book group or Bible study.
What would you like to read together this summer?
Possibilities have been outlined below.
Feel free to add your own thoughts, suggestions and ideas.
Cast your vote (or share your idea) by contacting Pastor Joy via email at RevJPerkett@gmail.com, via phone or text at 860-581-0493, or by speaking to her in-person on Sunday.
Option 1: Looking at the Bible as a Whole
The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight looks at how we read and interpret the Bible with a special focus toward harder passages that are often ignored. McKnight gives perspective on how we might rather interpret and understand Scripture as a whole, rather than picking, choosing and isolate the passages that we want to read or learn.
Option 2: Studying Specific Books of the Bible
Is there a specific book of the Bible that you would like to study? The Immersion Bible Studies by J. Ellsworth Kalas and the For Everyone Series by N. T. Wright both provide excellent opportunities to look at specific books of the Bible in depth, allowing you to learning in as much depth as you would like. Click here for a list of the books of the Bible; are there any in particular that draw your interest?
Option 3: Exploring our Identity — Why Are We Baptists?
The Baptist Identity: The Four Fragile Freedoms by Walter Shurden provides excellent material for us to examine questions like: What does it mean to be Baptist? Why am I Baptist? With a emphasis on freedom and personal choice, the book also provides an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their own faith journey and formative experiences. The Baptist story is an important one worth exploring in more depth.
Option 4: Discerning the Future
Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer is a book that is part auto-biography and part deep spiritual wisdom. It examines the question of how we discern what God is calling us to do. So often, we are going through life trying to fulfill the expectations that others put on us. Palmer’s book, written from a Quaker perspective, is an opportunity to sit back and really listen to where God is speaking into our lives.
Option 5: Living our Questions
What questions about faith, life and God do you have? For this group, there would not be a book, just a chance to explore questions, thoughts and reflections about faith that weigh on your minds. It would be an opportunity to examine and explore questions like: What do we mean when we use terms like salvation, sin and evil? Are there more than one way to understand these terms? What do we talk about when we talk about God? How do we truly love our neighbors? What if our neighbors aren’t very nice? What do we do then? This group would be a chance to explore and reflect together on the real questions, challenges and struggles that we face as people of faith in the world today.