New Hope Free Methodist Church is the last of the Harvard Rd. churches (East Valley Presbyterian, Kaleo, New Hope, Seventh Day Adventists, Peace Lutheran, Bethel Missionary Baptist — working south from Trent Rd.). For the summer, they moved from Sunday services to Thursday nights, and we happened to come on Bible game night (last Thursday they had a baptism).
I wonder what game night would be like for someone not familiar with the Bible coming in for the first time. Even though we’re pretty well versed, the games weren’t easy: A 21 question multiple choice Bible trivia (I scored -5, Michael -6), Name That Gospel Hymn, and the Bible-character version of “Who Am I?” (one of the teams had, “Your wife is spicy!” as a clue for Lot).
Here’s what we missed:
1. Who was the first person in the Bible to sin.
-> C. Eve
(I said “Satan,” missing the emphasis on person. So, even though Satan tempts Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and she, in turn, gets Adam to taste it . . . it’s “Eve” and not “Satan.” This points to the writer (and perhaps the congregation’s or denomination’s thoughts on Satan-as-a-personified-being).
9. Who was the first man to be taken to heaven without dying?
-> A. Enoch
(We both said “Elijah — I don’t even remember the story of Enoch).
10. Who killed himself and thousands of Philistines at the same time?
-> B. Samson
D. Osama bin Laden
(Here, Michael had a brain fart and mixed up Gideon with Samson).
11. About what insect does the bible tell us to “consider her ways and be wise”
-> C. Ant
(We both chose the spider . . . either the spinning reference, or our deep seated love of Charlotte . . . not sure which . . . but we missed the ant entirely).
13. What were Hananiah, Mishel, and Azariah[‘s] other names?
A. James, John, and Peter
B. Michael, Gabriel, Lucifer
-> C. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
D. Mary, Martha, Lazarus
(I bit it on this one, going for the angels in B.)
16. What Bible book hinted that the world was round long before scientists proved it.
-> B. Isaiah
(We both went Genesis . . . hmm).
17. Whose head was not cut off?
-> C. Abel
(Michael was thinking about David konking Goliath in the head with a rock . . . not his subsequent decapitation).
18. To whom did Jesus quote the book of Deuteronomy three times?
-> B. Satan
D. The Pharisees
(Jesus quoted repeatedly to lots of folks. For that matter, I’m pretty sure he quoted to all four of these . . . Michael was thinking the Pharisees, which makes sense, as Deut. contains the law . . . I got it because I guessed differently, thinking about the desert scene with Satan, where he’s also quoting the law).
I have a dear friend who says, “I don’t know any Bible stories” . . . and I’ve always wondered what that must be like, visiting a museum with the art of the Renaissance . . . I suppose I know the answer to that question, as I’ve been in museums of ancient Chinese art, and was at a loss with regard to, say, the stories of the Buddha. I imagine last night might have been very uncomfortable if we hadn’t been as culturally literate. The folks there were so warm and welcoming, I imagine they might have risen to the occasion, and made teams instead of individual players, to include folks who didn’t know Bible trivia.
One interesting note: the building is still in Phase One of the construction. It has a soaring entryway, kitchen, bathrooms, and a small awkward room that’s currently being used as the sanctuary. As we were walking out, I remarked to Michael that it was a curious architecture, and glanced up at the entryway ceiling, then turned around, and realized that I expected a set of doors on the solid wall, just beyond the entry. So I walked back in, and we caught one of the church leaders and asked. She chuckled and said, yes, that’s exactly what it was, and alluded to a series of splits and changes that had happened recently, putting the building project on hold (and decimating the congregation). Then she pointed to the wall (the one I thought the doors ought to be on) and said, “Ah, our crimson wall. The youth group a few years ago decided we needed it crimson — the Blood of Christ, you know — so now we have it.” I think she was apologizing for it — she needn’t have — it was dark, but quite lovely. But beyond that, there was something in what she didn’t say:
The young people in our church decided this wall needed to be red — and we didn’t stand in their way.
And I think that last bit is the important part: ensuring that the youth of the church (or any organization) are part of and have investment in their church. So often, they get shunted off to the site, their visions and input discarded because it’s different from that of the older folks in the church. It was refreshing to see that support.