I can only speak for myself when I say this, but I am finding it difficult to read these days. My old favorite genres are frustrating when they seem too light or irrelevant. Anything that requires real concentration is right out. I’ve spent a lot of time catching up on podcasts and playing Candy Crush.
That being said, the pastoral duty of teaching still continues. In our Facebook group and even in some back channels, there has been a request for a Bible study or book recommendation for congregational life during the present circumstances. If you find yourself in this situation, or even if you don’t, I recommend to you: A Family Like Mine: Biblical Story of Love, Loss, and Longing by Rosalind C. Hughes, who is a RevGal.
This book is shaped around the concept of the “biblical family”, in all its messiness, betrayal, hope, and grief. Hughes tells her own adoption story as a parallel to the biblical narratives, pointing out that all families have secrets, curiosities, and unplumbed depths.
The book is quite readable, with brief, easily digested chapters. The questions at the end of each chapter provoke deep thoughts and deeper conversations. Some of the chapters could be combined to be covered in one session, while others would need their own space.
My favorite chapter is the one on Moses, in which Hughes takes an imaginative journey- comparing the conversation around the pharaoh’s dinner table to the whispers around the evening meal in Moses’s birth home. Hughes uses her imaginative interpretation to encourage readers to think about taboo topics around their own tables, their family conversation patterns, and how our conversations can either divide or unite.
Family, for Hughes, has a roomy definition, encapsulating the wide variety of ways people find affinity and show support. In this time of isolation, most of us are finding family in different ways and figuring out new ways to care for one another. This slim study volume could be the right fit for your group to talk about what family, community, and our relationship to our biblical siblings looks like now and may look like in the future.
The Reverend Julia Seymour serves Big Timber Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Big Timber, MT. She blogs at lutheranjulia.blogspot.com and readsallthethings.com. She contributed to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit and is President of the board of RevGalBlogPals, Inc.
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