What's Midrash? It's an ancient practice of asking questions in community. It’s a way of understanding a puzzling or controversial story or text together.
The Jewish scriptures (the Christian Old Testament) use midrash to mean investigating an issue or seeking God’s will. Over time, it became a way for rabbis to interpret and apply biblical stories to later historical contexts. Pete Enns describes midrash as going “beyond and beneath the “plain meaning” of the text for the purpose of addressing some difficulty in the text or [to] bring that past text into conversation with present circumstances” (check out his full essay here).
Midrash is what we’re calling something my friend Becky and I have been cooking up this summer. We're dreaming of an online learning community-a book club of sorts-where you can engage with new ideas. Or with old ones in fresh ways.
We want it to be a place to find conversation partners for questions around faith and community and culture. A place to be open to hope and possibility. To connect with other curious minds to process life and be intentional about growth in a setting where you can interact and learn from those outside your everyday circle.
We want to be a community that’s not afraid of admitting what we don’t know or understand. We’re committed to a culture of mutuality and learning from one another and to the freedom for respectful disagreement. We’re captivated by the old idea of amateurs not as people who are unskilled or haphazard but as those who engage something simply for the love of it. We love taking chances to expand our shared understandings of belief and practice around things like faith, culture, justice, community, and church. As we go, we’re shaped by the beliefs that the Bible still has a lot to teach us about God and reality; that the gospel truly is good news; and that the future will be shalom shaped even as we acknowledge the brokenness of our times.
When we meet we’ll analyze, evaluate, and critique together. And we’ll talk about what living into the best of what we’ve learned looks like for our individual contexts.
If you decide to be part of this, every few weeks you’ll receive some focus questions and a brief meditation to encourage you to keep going in your reading and discovery. And prior to our online conversations, a discussion guide and questions will be provided.
We’ll be gathering every other month starting this October. A month or so before each meeting, we’ll let you know what book(s) we’ll be using as jumping off points for our conversations. We hope you’ll join us!