Let me introduce you to my current pet peeve. It has swirled around in my brain for awhile, but now it’s beginning to overtake and upset me.
I am managing editor for Lutheran Woman Today magazine and our staff (of two) is charged with putting out two Bible studies each year: one nine-month study that runs from September to May and a three-month study that runs during the summer months.
The three-month summer study is lighter fare, usually. Easier to read; easier to digest. The nine-month study is slightly more challenging. We hope that the true Bible scholars in our church (e.g., the women’s Bible study groups) will find in it some new information, something they have not heard before, something that enlightens them.
So when pastors—male or female—call us and tell us that the Bible study is just too hard for the “older ladies” to understand, I get upset. And when the women themselves call or write saying the same thing about their group of “older ladies,” I am bewildered.
Our Bible study is often (mostly) written by seminary professors, true, because we must enlist people who have studied the Bible before they can communicate it to others. But these are people who teach. Their job is to impart knowledge so that students can understand it.
Not every person likes every study. (If only it could be so!)
But that does not mean the studies are too hard for the “older ladies” to understand them. These are the “older ladies” who have been studying the Bible for 30, 40, even 60 years. They could teach the seminary professors!
Academic studies indicate that our brainpower does not decline as we age. Instead, we become wiser, and so it takes longer to sift through the data. It’s called a broad attention span, according to a New York Times article. Maybe all that is needed is more time to study the lesson, say two hours rather than one.
I want our older Bible study participants (as well as their pastors and leaders) to embrace their brain power, their wisdom, their biblical knowledge. And to know that you are our teachers.