New Bible study looks at God’s extravagant welcome found everywhere in scripture
The Institute for Welcoming Resources, a program of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has released a new 10-session Bible study that celebrates the Bible’s overwhelming message, in story after story, of God’s radical love and welcome.
“Every time we think we know who’s in and who’s out, God does something to challenge those assumptions, to unbind our hearts and minds from old ways of understanding, and to draw the circle ever wider,” explains the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel, Institute for Welcoming Resources and faith work director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
In each session, people are invited to think about what groups today have been made to feel that they are not welcome
“Many persons today find themselves rendered invisible, kept at the edges — or altogether outside — our faith communities: people of color, immigrants, LGBT people, those struggling with poverty, those with special needs and more. If you could say anything to our churches in the 21st century as we wrestle with whether or how to welcome persons who seem so ‘other’ to us today, what would you say?” says David R. Weiss, author of the Bible study series.
Hearts Unbound, Engaging Biblical Texts of God’s Radical Love Through Reader’s Theater, explores 10 of those inspiring stories of radical love and welcome. Entertaining, thought-provoking and participatory, each session looks in-depth at the story, the historical context out of which it came and some of the insights to be gained.
“Hearts Unbound helps you fall in love again with the Bible’s power, wisdom and beauty,” says Voelkel. “Here are the scriptures about Ruth and Jesus and other important figures, presented in ways that invite you in, unbind your heart and remind you why you love the Christian tradition.”
Designed to be used as a small-group Bible study, Hearts Unbound uses the format of reader’s theater.
“All you need are six to eight people around a table, reading the script, having fun, all the while learning a great deal in the process,” she says.
All 10 sessions are available at www.WelcomingResources.org for free download.