The Totally Awkward Bible Study: And Four Ways To Push Forward

You’ve been there at church on a Wednesday night or small group or post-sermon discussion where somebody has the sheet of questions, there’s the go-around of Doritos and ginger ale, and then comes the horrible show-stopping inquisition —

“What are your thoughts on that?”

Oh, this guy got trained good — he’s not asking “yes” or “no” questions. He wants thoughts.

Then the cavernous silence, like God looking for Adam in the garden after the Fall. You look for fig leaves under the seat. All you got is ranch chips and a styrofoam cup of creamy wonder from the He-Brews Coffee Bar.

No one moves, twiddles a thumb, or even breathes: because a sign of life would indicate you want to speak, and getting called on is worse than the moment you use the table of contents in the Bible.

And then like watching a car accident in slow-motion, the leader’s neck moves his head towards you and he asks, “Why don’t we start with you?”

Chairs creaking. Looking for a trap door, fire alarm, paper bag, smoke bomb, taser.

The only way it could get more awkward is if you karate chopped the guy next to you and jumped out a window yelling, “They’ll never get me!”

I feel you on this one. It’s pretty uncomfortable to just talk deep at the drop of a hat, and an insensitive leader with a low EQ — bless his heart — will just trample on your natural defenses. No one can go from zero to vulnerable that easily. If a Bible study means to get at the core of our human struggle, then we should probably expect a lot of silence.

So hey: awkwardness is okay, and there’s a way to handle it that’s more like a scalpel than a broad sword.

Whether you’re the leader or shy enough to use your turtleneck as a hoodie, here are four ways to push forward.

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Mega-Post: Female Pastors, Neo-Feminism, and The Scary Words Submission, Quiet, and Penis


In reference to this.

Feel free to skip around on this post.


Anonymous questions:

– Hi. I enjoyed your last post. I am a woman and have been struggling with Scripture for a long, long time about complementarianism vs egalitarianism in the church. Despite my struggling, my conviction is the former. I am guessing yours is as well. So can you give me your view (and on submission, historical context of Paul’s teachings, etc)? Also, what if there are few men in a certain area unable to do pastoral work for w/e reason.. is it better to have a woman do this work rather than no one?

– In reference to your recent post about qualifications for pastors, could you also address this issue: must pastors be male?

– Can you explain 1 Timothy 2:11?


Please allow me the humility to throw down some groundwork for our discussion.  Also please know that I am one person interpreting a controversial text, and disagreements here shouldn’t lead to division.  Feel free to skip around if you read on.

I can’t continue unless I explain neo-feminism.  It is a form of feminist values gone wrong, in which instead of equal rights calls for a debasing of masculine values and a superiority of feminine ones.

I have little problem with feminism since its true spirit is to heal the historical deficit of women’s rights.  But neo-feminism is a clever corruption, often subtle and much more entrenched in our culture and mentalities than we presume, as we’ll soon see. 

We are also such a product of our times that we’re blinded to much of the ideas that have clawed into our psyches.  C.S. Lewis’ famous argument of chronological snobbery is helpful to read here.

No doubt that I will say disagreeable things and I don’t claim to have all the answers.  Yet I stand on these convictions because I don’t want to be a relativist passionless fool who compromises in a politically correct culture of catering.  As best as I know how, these are my personal biblical foundations.  Please seek for yourself as well.

Continue reading “Mega-Post: Female Pastors, Neo-Feminism, and The Scary Words Submission, Quiet, and Penis”