Same ol’ same ol’ doesn’t deserve my attention.
Starting in late April or early May, someone started coming in here 19:30 every Wednesday offering a “Bible study.” That’s how it was billed at first. Currently, it’s being billed as “Church.” It’s not mandatory.
Now, the shelter is operated by Associated Catholic Charities, and owned by the City. There is no particular First Amendment bar to anyone coming in here offering whatever services they please.
So this began. The presenter is from Empowerment Temple, the former mega-church of celebrity womanizer Jamal Harrison Bryant.
From the beginning, I had little interest. My devotional activities already cost about 90 minutes per day, not counting attending my own church (online, currently) Sundays. This thing would have to be pretty good to warrant my devoting an additional hour.
I’ve seen that some other guys attend.
To me, a Bible study involves a group of people sitting around a table — thus, literally, all on much the same level — sharing thoughts on the questions they find in the text.
One Wednesday night at 19:30 or 20:00, I happened to be coming in from a smoke break while this meeting was in progress. It takes place in the “men’s day room,” which is adjacent to the front hall, separated by a wall of glass windows. Here was a man standing at a podium, preaching — Preaching, which in the black tradition refers to a certain use of the voice. — to or at a group of men who were all sitting in chairs facing him.
That’s not a Bible study.
Rather, it’s the same thing we had at the shelter where I used to stay, where there was mandatory “chapel” every night: some individual coming in primarily for the sake of his or her own self-aggrandizement, to spout her or his own beliefs to a group of people.
Same ol’ same ol’ ain’t for me.