Education is hope
By Yvonne Hileman
On Thursday evening, a packed house in plenary heard Horizons Bible study authors Janice Catron and Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty praise the commitment to lifelong learning that Presbyterian Women have. Perhaps nothing exemplifies this commitment to lifelong learning better than Presbyterian Women’s Horizons Bible studies. Presbyterian Women love their Bible studies―and they love their Bible study authors.
In their tandem presentation, both Elizabeth and Janice described the warmth they feel as part of the community of Presbyterian Women.
Janice said, “We truly believe there is a lot to learn from study together. In Bible study, we learn about God’s plan and God’s actions. We learn about ourselves and what is important. We learn that God cares about us,” she added. “That is a source of immeasurable hope,” she said, eyes gleaming.
Janice then shared with the crowd her insights into the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, the texts for her 2013–2014 Horizons Bible study. She said, “I remember a preacher who asked us to identify the first question we ask in our lives. Most of us jumped to ‘Why?’ Referring to a baby’s cry, he said it is ‘Is anybody there?’ That is the question that recurs throughout Exodus and Deuteronomy.
“Moving through stories of freedom from bondage to covenant, we learn that God will not fail us. Despite repeated human rebellion, these books tell the story of God’s faithfulness. They lead us to consider what it means to be in the presence of God all the time!”
Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty echoed Janice’s gratitude for the opportunity to author a Horizons Bible study. She said PW was the first to publish her writing, as she completed seminary training. “Thank you for your witness, your fearlessness, your courage to confront issues and your passion for lifelong learning.”
Elizabeth is writing the 2014–2015 Bible study on a far different text than Janice’s—2 Corinthians. “I was a bit worried about taking on Paul,” she said. “His writing is filled with difficult passages for me as a woman and as a teaching elder. I wondered what I could learn about them that would enable me and others to see Paul and his second letter to the Corinthians in a new way. After some time, I began to see how Paul is like us in that he wrestles with his faith.
“I want to invite you to stretch your minds and hearts as we engage in conversation about what happened in the ancient world, and to consider how we might relate Paul’s writings to the contemporary global problems set before us—wealth inequalities; social and political divisions etched along lines of race and gender, global North and South; ecological destruction and much more.”
Elizabeth quoted Barbara Brown Taylor, who said biblical interpretation is like rubbing your hand across a fine piece of wood. You feel the smooth places, but you also feel the splinters. “When you find the splinter, the place that pricks your skin and sensitivity, that’s the place God is calling you to explore.”