I really want to be part of a bible study, and want to socialize with other Christians, but I do not want all the baggage bible studies carry with them. I want people to just get together and just BE … no format, just talk life, discuss scripture (Christ), eat together, help one another, and know we are all in Him.
I believe the way bible studies are structured today, with an opening prayer, a snack time, a bible discussion time, and a closing prayer with prayer requests is actually detrimental to the growth and action of the Body of Christ. See this post about my thoughts on prayer requests.
To me every time I try another study it is the same shit, different bible study. Same format, same consensus, not much action with each other or the community.
Go out on the internet and look up how to start or run a bible study. They are all the same. Where in the world did this pile of man-made format BS come from, and why in the heck does everyone abide by these rules as the grand-daddy of all formats. Just like the institutional church system structure itself, the structure of bible studies also promotes legalism, or in other words, rule-following “groupthink”.
First, let me define what “groupthink” is. It was a term coined by some dude in the 50’s in some Fortune magazine article, but was later popularized in many sociological research articles. It works a lot like legalism, where everyone is comfortable, and actually like each other, ONLY if the rules are followed. Do not follow the group rules and structure, you are out like yesterday’s garbage!
“Groupthink” can be compared to childhood peer pressure. It is a mental state that occurs among groups of people who share the same values and background. A group that is guilty of “groupthink” puts strong emphasis on group cohesion and acceptance rather than creative problem-solving or “thinking outside the box.” This may occur out of the desire to be thought of as “one of the group” or the one person that is “easygoing”. It also could come out of pure intellectual laziness … in other words, the other ideas people come up with saves a person the trouble of coming up with one themselves. Just go with flow….
What usually happens to me is that I bring in “outside ideas” and they are typically discarded rather quickly, and then I am often singled out and criticized for failure to go along with the group. The silence of dissenters further supports the false idea that the group is unanimous in its decision. Man does that really piss me off.
In short, “groupthink” can lead a group of highly educated, intelligent people into illogical decision-making and dangerous choices.
What I think every group needs is a “devil’s advocate” type person, and all of his or her dissenting suggestions need to be considered when discussions occur. Not that the devil’s advocate’s ideas are always right, but sometimes I think subjects need to be talked about and just do not do things just because the majority does it.
Like for instance, opening a bible study in prayer, or closing in prayer. Why the structure? Why can’t the group have prayer come naturally instead of praying just because the clock says so?
So what would your “group think” if I brought this subject up at one of your gatherings?