"Just Joe" is Pastor Joe Agne's weekly column, published in regular email communications to members and friends of Cedaredge Community United Methodist Church. To be added to the church's email list,
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Studying the Bible in a La-Z-Boy
September 15, 2020
My mother, Marjorie Gibson Potts Agne, spoke fondly of Prexy, the president of her school, Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. He was one of her primary mentors in understanding the Bible. His name was Paul Dwight Moody. He taught in chapel regularly, and was the son of Dwight L. Moody, a well-known evangelist.
My mother graduated from Middlebury in 1930 with a degree in mathematics and a love for the Bible, which enabled her to teach adult classes in churches for decades. Influenced by Prexy, she didn’t come out of college with a literalist interpretation of the Bible. She understood the Bible as part history, part story and beautiful poetry. She never thought the 10 Commandments came from tablets, but rather were the organizing rules developed in a community seeking to be faithful to their covenant with Yahweh, who had liberated them from slavery in Egypt.
The Rev. Harvey Neuman, one of the pastors of the church in which I grew up, asked her to write an article about the resurrection. She thought the most compelling argument for resurrection came from renewed nature each spring. She was uninterested in arguing about bodily resurrection.
Many nights a week, she’d sit in a green, faux leather, reclining, La-Z-Boy chair, her Bible, study resources, pencils, note paper, ash tray and lamp on a-wobbly TV tray next to her. She worked hard preparing my lessons. It bothered her when members of the Crusaders class spent too much class-time planning their next social event. She just wanted the class to help people learn Bible stories.
And I am,
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