Thursday, August 14, 2008

Women's Bible Study: A Quiz

Every Tuesday morning I haul my cookies out of bed at 4:45. I put on make up, dress in clothing I chose the night before, and use hair product. This has been my regular routine for about a year. It's admitedly over the top, even for me. But this my friends, This. Is. Bible Study morning. What? What's that you say? Sweet Baby Jesus doesn't care how my hair looks or that I am wearing clothes my kids aren't allowed to touch? Oh no, no, no. You apparently haven't experienced the phenomonon called Women's Ministry.

Ah, Women's Ministry - the place where estrogen and encouragement shake manicured hands over fat free, sugar free frothy carmelattes. I fell all warm and huggy just thinking about it. Oh, I may be quirky but I like me some women's ministry, and throw in a Bible verse and BAM! instant Bible study! Whew, I gotta slow down or I'm going to start stitching a Bible cover any second. Deep breath.

We all know that God did not intend for women to study the Bible alone. We can't even pee in public without girlfriend support, let along deciper God's Word. Knowing which group to join, however, can be a serious crap shoot. So, did you ever wish there were a test, brilliantly assembled and say, on a blog somewhere that could help you in this area? Well, isn't that a coincidence. Here I am to help out.

This is the Which Bible Study Should I Take So That I Don't End Up Hating It & Drop Out Half Way Through Test, or the WBSSITSTIDEUHI&DOHWTT 2008. Below you will find a list of questions. Answer each one according to what, hypothetically, would most appeal to you in a study group.

Okay, go!

What do you bring with you to your study?
a) Scrapbook supplies, stamping supplies, knitting needles and a Bible
b) KJV, a legal pad, 73 different colored pencils, and a commentary
c) Bartles & James in a Scripture Sipper and an OK! Magazine

What characteristics best describe your study group?
a) An enchanting cornucopia of lip liner, brownies, and Crest Whitestrips.
b) Saved. Sanctified. Sword drills on steroids.
c) This is a study? I thought we were going to Starbucks…

Your group meets:
a) Somewhere with big round tables, floral centerpieces, and glue sticks
b) In the sanctuary. On cold, hard pews, of course. This is a Bible study.
c) Come hell or high water. You haven’t had a moment to yourself since last week.

You miss a week. What happens?
a) You never learn how to decoupage
b) Your leader calls, demanding to know why you were absent. You tell her your uncle died. She quotes “let he dead bury their own dead” and highly suggests you show up next week. Or have your Bible dictionary taken away.
c) Miss a week? And give up free child care? I don’t think so.

If you had to compare your study to a game show it would be:
a) The Price Is Right – We’re giddy with anticipation – somebody’s going to win a door prize!!!
b) A game? Studying the Bible is NOT a game. You heathen.
c) Deal or No Deal – no childcare, no deal

You ask for prayer requests. Your group would most likely say:
a) My Aunt’s neighbor’s friend’s dog has worms. You all know how she just loves that dog. I’m a cat person myself, but anyhoo…
b) The new Metro worship leader. His tattoos are obnoxious and he wears a ski cap - and in the sanctuary of all places. For shame.
c) Heavenly Father, please, please let this meeting run long because my twins are teething.

Typically the women in your group wear:
a) It varys. Patchwork denim jackets, sequined holiday sweaters, handmade jewlery, hair product and acrylic nails...
b) Mandatory skirt and blouse, plus a button that says "Nobody Loves Jesuse More Than Me"
c) Maternity clothes, pregnant or not (ok, I appologize for that)

Your group smells like:
a) Sun ripened raspberries with soft notes of sweet baby Jesus
b) old hymnal, squeaky highlighter and holiness
c) ketchup stains and exhaustion, erroneously masked by Wal-Mart body splash

OK, last one...

In you group you are studying:
a) Chicken Soup for the Soul and different ways to say “bless your heart”
b) The Bible. In Greek. And Hebrew. In context, verse by verse.
c) SCL or SFL on your iPhone while someone lectures about…something.

So, how did you score?

Group A: Happy, Happy Jesus Loves You Hugfest

This group would love to meet you!These women are a shiny, sparkly compound of crafts sticks and Bible promise books. Get a group of them together and let the Jesus flow. They meet in a big room filled with food, conversation and sweater sets. Table centerpieces abound, as does encouragement and high pitched laughter. Forget your Bible? That’s okay, the woman next to you has the entire book of Joshua embroidered on her skirt. Need a hug? Prepare to be smashed to the bosom of everyone in attendance. So jump on board the fellow ship and get ready to ride.

Group B: The Holy Alliance of Hermeneutics (or The HAH)

These girls mean business. They would love to meet you, but only after you have gone through a test to assess your highlighter skills. A formal inquisition to evaluate your commitment level is required. These groups attract devoted academics of God’s Word. Have question about Levitical law but you’re not sure where to look? They can tell you. Don’t even know where Habakkuk is? They do. Have questions about salvation? Justification? Sanctification? Pronunciation? Purification? Perspiration? Alliteration? They can quote you book, chapter, verse, and cross references without missing a beat. Homework, attendance, and skirts are manditory. Every other month head covering is optional. So if you're up for the challenge of in-depth Bible study, daily homework, and panty hose, welcome to The HAH.

Group C: Mommy Group

If you have a child, you're in. It's that easy. Many women have been kept from going completely insane from the pangs of motherhood because of this group. This is a safe haven from stick fingers, diapers, whining, and Dora. In spite of their love for Bible study, this group doesn’t do much homework for obvious reasons. Typically there is a group speaker. Topics might include: “Spanking on a Budget”, “Cook for a Day/Eat Out for a Month”, “Sex? Are You Kidding?”, “Kid’s Benadryl: How To Mix It In Peanut Butter”, or “Potty Training: Just Shoot Me Now”. Oh, and did I mention FREE childcare?

For me I have been a member of all three groups at various times. Right now, my Tuesday ritual revolves around me being a member of Group B, The HAH. It's kicking my tail - a 21 month commitment, memorize 70 verses, 6 hours of homework weekly. I have to be at church, in my study room at 6 am, but I'm not going to complain. It's a good thing for me because I am sucktacular at being disciplined.

So what about you? What kind of group study are you in?


p said...

our church has a group A called Soul Sisters (Why do I want to spell Sista?) They give each other pedicures and the brochure says that it is a light-hearted Bible Study. This means that they read a verse at the beginning.

It isn't judgement, but I don't like people touching my feet.

Kelly said...

So how do you mix Benedryl with Peanut Butter? :)

Andy not Stanley said...


I just found your blog. Hilarious stuff.

eastern ky pastor said...

You, my friend, are hitting your stride. Well played, indeed!

Christianne said...

I'm not in any of these groups. I guess the closest I'd be is group 3, but I'm not a mommy. This must be why it's been so hard for me to find a small group since I moved to Florida.

All kidding aside, the cliches about women's ministry is why a group of friends and I decided to start something at our church that connects women to each other in real conversation . . . but we've been trying with all our might to pass around the idea that "this is NOT a women's ministry." When you say "women's ministry," people get all kinds of weird ideas and spastic twitches. That's because, I think, most people have experience with group #1 somewhere in their past, and that is so 80s and not Right Now.

Teachertraveler said...

I spent 3 years in a HAH and now that I've moved to a new city I'm terrified of being stuck in a Happy, Happy Jesus Hugfest.

I miss my HAH. In between analyzing Bible verses, one girl would flip Satan off. It was awesome.

But seriously we went through a heck of a lot (unplanned pregnancy, death of a member, loss of job, house, car, parent, grandparent, etc.) and we are super close so when people go, "Oh you're in a single women's Bible study?" and get that happy fake smile, I think, "If you only knew..."

Kelly said...

It's me again. I luckily didn't go to our women's bible study which is a strange mixture of all three, I was busy on Tuesdays. I also try to avoid women's ministry like the plague. As a worship pastor's wife that is very hard. Unfortunately I also didn't make the Big Ol' Women's Slumber Party (yes you heard me right). People got ticked off and eventually ran us out because of my lack of commitment. Now he is teaching middle school and I never have to worry about such things ever again!
P.S. wHy is there no spell check on here?

Dog snob said...

If our church had a group 3, I'd be in it. We do go to a good small group who's motto is "Living life together" and it pretty well compares to group 3...ok, yeah, I'm a member of group 3.

It's great that you're doing the HAH group, remember, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger ;)

daphne said...

My bible study group is called the MOMS group so I guess that is a clue. This is what I love about them outside of the free childcare AND coffee. In an effort to show how Jesus and our church accepts everyone despite their past, they let me give my testimony once. The reactions were amusing.

We are kinda happy happy hug fest though. And while we do not do crafts or scrapbooks, we do often bring in gifts for strippers and hookers.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Kelly, swimming like crazy trying to escape the pull of the women's ministry vortex of death. I'm the part-time minister of music's wife (the music is part time, not the wife) in what to me is a tiny church. Kinda hard to avoid the questions, but so far, so good. They meet during the Sunday evening service, so my "preference" hasn't been an issue. If they ever change the time, I'm toast. Why does women's ministry have to be so stinkin' sweet? Sometimes life is just plain stinkin'. And you bet I'm anonymous on this one.

Stacy from Louisville said...

Dear Anon,
You're caught between a rock and a hard place. (I like to say that because it's so fresh and I'm cool like that) If you ever even think they're going to change the times I would immediately start volunteering somewhere. Even if you have to shake hands during flu season as an unpaid, unofficial Wal-Mart greeter, so be it. Then you can tell people, "I would love to go to women's group but I have been spending time with the elderly." Seriously, you will become a saint.


Anonymous said...

Stacy, many thanks for your most excellent tip! and yes, you are so fresh and cool. I feel a springtime breeze even as I type. why don't you go to my church? Where are all you cool chicks?

Nicole said...

just found your blog. very funny!

I was at a women's conference the other weekend and the main speakers spent an hour talking about hair and nails and tanning.... to say I was shocked would be an understatement!

My Bible study is proably close to the mom group - except that we aren't all moms.

the Jesus Makes Me Happy ones scare me.

JennyM said...

I am in between The HAHs and the Survivors. I absolutely fell over at the part about Joshua embroidered on her skirt!!! I once got hugged/squished by a woman that EVERYONE else thought was freaking SAINTED and she said "you're doing a WONNNNNNNNNNNderful job as a mother!!". She then smiled like someone was behind her pulling on her lips and walked away. I didn't buy it for a minute. I doubt she knew my kid's names. Don't give me that crap, lady. Grrrr.

I must say, I adore Jon, but I am SO blissed that you are real, you're HERE, and you are writing about life!!!

sam said...

lol ive been reading your blog now for a couple days and i have to say youre freakin awesome :] you are like the female version of Jon.. and being that i am a female thats good. yeah i dont have a womens bible study. i dont even know if our church has one lol...

The said...

That, my friend, was a classic. I love it!

Ellen said...

My Bible Study is a mix of B and C. It's an "inductive group" which means you *just* study your Bible (no books/videos/DVD teachers), but we're all moms and CRAVE the free childcare and the place to fall apart occasionally when we are so tired we cannot even remember to bring a Bible to Bible Study.

I am enjoying your blog! Thanks for writing!

thelollydama said...

I have been the same group of nine women for 27 years. We meet every other Tuesday night and we have DINNER. Food is our glue I think. Seriously, we are called PMS which translates to: Prayer Ministry & Support or more often the real definition of PMS. I now want to change our name to Soul Sistas thanks to "p". We sometimes fall into all three categories at the same time. Ladies get you some Bible Study going it will change your life!

Kelli said...

Sweet baby Jesus, water almost came out my nose at your opening paragraph and description of group A. My previous church in Texas had the unspoken dress code of full makeup, hair product, khaki or black capris, and cute sweater sets. (I stuck out like a sore thumb in my jeans, t-shirt, and ponytail.) I loved the annual tea party as well. Gag.

e3 said...

I'm glad you have a blog now so I can get my SFL fix on the regular in lieu of trolling SCL for comments. You funny.

Anonymous said...

Not sure whether to laugh or cry this was so funny. I am not in a women's Bible study, nor women's ministry FOR A REASON! That much estrogen makes me crazy! ;)

I have found being part of a mixed group with my husband works best for me.

Ann Marie & Scott said...

oh my this was spot-on!
this made me think of my summer experience with Womens Ministry:
this summer I went to my 1st large national womens conference that featured a Certain Female Bible Study Person That Happens To Be Very Loud And Produces A Lot Of Bible Studies From Texas. I'm sure you people can catch my drift as to Who I am talking about, but shall remain nameless, for propriety's sake.
anywhoo, I was TERRIFIED at all of the capri pants, fanny packs, big hair and crying...I am used to Passion conferences, as I am a College Minister's Wife (aka-lowest on the totem). And Passion even rocked Beth Moore a couple of times! (oops, Fruedian slip)
it was too much for me...i'll take Louie and 10,000 college kids anytime over 10,000 WOMEN in one place!!
(no offence if you like those conferences I am referring to)

Tricia said...

I am getting caught up on your site but I am LOVING IT!! I am definitely apart of the Mommy Group. Whatever I can do to get out of this house for a few hours!! AHHHHHHH!!

Tobyhanna, PA