When Did “Google” Become a Bad Word?

Yep, I did it.

I said I googled answers to BSF questions IN CLASS this week and I got a “Shush” from the teaching leader, shocked expressions from some, and laughs from the others (who use google too).

Just being honest when asked how I found all my references.

When I first began BSF, I’d ask myself when a challenge question came up, “How do these women know these references?  I would NEVER know where to find that in the Bible.”

That’s when I started googling.

Because how else am I going to learn where in the Bible to find a passage about love for instance if I DON’T google?

My Bible background was minimal at the time.  I didn’t know the books of the Bible or where anything was.  I vaguely knew the New Testament was about Jesus.  That’s about it.

Even now, I’ll know generally in what book to find something but I still have to google.

For instance, I needed to know where to find the passage “you make everything work for my good”.  So I googled that and came up with Romans 28:8–the exact passage I was seeking but had no idea (besides the New Testament) where to look.

It’s the quickest, easiest way to learn where passages are in the Bible.

And I learn!  I read other passages too that come up about a topic and WHAM!  I know God better!

I couldn’t ask for more than that.

And, yes, I had help.  From Google.  An idea that God planted in someone’s mind.  An idea we all can learn from.

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46 comments on “When Did “Google” Become a Bad Word?

  1. Cairn2004 says:

    “Stepford wife” syndrome pops up at times; makes me question the policy/procedure and demeanor of the program. At times it feels like a convent type atmosphere…kind of creepy yet comforting at the same time.

  2. Robert Henk says:

    There is nothing wrong with Googling, even in BSF. If it helps you learn more, I say more power to you! Isn’t that the entire point of BSF, to learn more about Gods words? I Google a lot!

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Randee says:

    I was glad to see this post. I am new to BSF (Oct 2012). Our leader calls us weekly and one time I told her that I would read your blogs if I was unsure of my answers to the study questions. Like you, my leader advised me NOT to do that, as if what I were doing was wrong. I was as you were, quite a novice when it came to the Bible. I continue to check my answers against my own because sometimes I do not have a clue. You are great! Keep up the good work and the Googling!

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m an STL for BSF (that’s a lot of letters :-/) and I can tell you the reason your leader advised you not to look at the blog was because FIRST we want you to come up with your amawers from God alone, through the Holy Spirit. After you have done the questions on your own, and discussed them in your group, and heard the lecture, we think its great if you can go to resources such as this one to gain more information! It’s a great tool for learning, but just save it for when that lesson is complete and you’ve heard from God first 🙂

  4. Kay Womack says:

    Well, Thank You!!! This is my 3rd yr. in BSF and I still have been wondering how so many women just “know” these bible verses, well, now I can google and fine them too!!! Yay!

  5. Kelli says:

    Yes, BSF has guidelines…Rules. however it’s your heart attitude that counts. God gets that. You are learning. Thanks be to God you have time to attend BSF. I can’t go now bc the closest class is 1 hr away. I miss it! So be bold. If you are judged, so be it.
    Biblegateway.com is another super resource. They have many translations as well.

    • Bama Girl says:

      Beautifully put. We have women in our class that are blessed to be able to make the 2-hour drive to attend BSF. They are praying for a class to be established closer to them. Will pray that you will be able to have a class closer to you in the not-to-distant future.

    • Janie says:

      Amen sister!!!

      • Sweet Mama says:

        Testify. It has happened to people new to leaders’ training circle, too. We just learn to keep our mouths shut. I google when I’m stumped to get me to the passages I’m looking for. Why should I apologize for learning? I always keep my mouth shut about stuff like that. On the other hand, no one wants to sit in a class with people copying entire Commentaries and AtoZ’s answer verbatim. Like you, not all of us grew up in Awanas, Royal Ambassadors, and GA programs and we don’t have Scripture memorized with address (book, chapter and verse.) It’s like having the ESV on your smart phone, access to the cool programs like BibleGateway.com with all the translations and even being able to listen to the Bible being read by some guy with a lovely British accent! There are groups with leaders who have the manuals on their tablets and there are groups like mine that are slowly but surely emerging from the days before computers. I don’t say that meanly and please don’t think I do. It’s just times are changing rapidly and the Good News is that the Good News is available to us in lots of different formats. Back in the day, all BSF ladies used the KJV of the Bible. It was a huge deal when they made the switch to the NIV 1984 translations the year I joined (the first time…a long time ago in a land far away). It caused a big to do for a lot of people. Some of you may remember your churches even splitting over which translations to use…the RSV, the KJV, the NIV 1984 and the “new” paraphrases back in the day like The Living Bible. This too will pass. As long as you’re making an earnest effort to do you own work and you try to resort to Google only when you can’t locate the Scripture you know you want or you want to check your answers to see if AtoZ is headed in the same direction. I’ve seen hers and been in total agreement. I’ve seen some where I was like…girl, where did you get that? I’m sticking to my answer. And when I’m stumped, confused (remember I have no leader to call), and I’m tempted to Google the exact question, I pray and lay that aside for a day. A lot of times I come back and it’s easy as pie for me to do. We training to become daily communicants with God, not members of the Holy Bible Study Fellowship Honor Roll. Try your best to comply, in class – keep it focused on those Bible passages we’re to use rather than what some commentary says or preacher’s sermon that was posted (that’s just bonus material for your own future knowledge so when YOU go back to serve in your local church, you’re even better prepared), and don’t be too chatty about the online world. I’ve learned to shut my mouth. My first year in leadership, I sent an email about BibleGateway and got fussed at by one leader and the rest ignored it. I only got one thank you back from 30 leaders because I had broken some unspoken guideline. My husband thinks a lot of the guidelines don’t really exist and that they’re really just a local group’s “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Whatever. Keep up the good work for the Good News. Keep learning. And remember we aren’t learning to be learning to win some earthly prize. We are learning for our own personal growth in Christ AND to go back to our local churches and families to SERVE. Peace.

  6. Janet says:

    Stepford wife sums it up. But I’m guessing most of the leadership would think Google is fine and a great tool we are fortunate to have. This leader just may not realize it. In BSF, we have to take the meat from the bones and hope the “Spirit of the Law” will trump the “letter of the law” more and more.

  7. Bama Girl says:

    In BSF it is fine to use a concordance. What you are doing is using an online concordance. The primary reason members are encouraged not to use commentaries and other outside sources when answering the questions is that the best way to find YOUR answer is to pray before you begin asking that the Lord will reveal Himself to you as you study–that the Holy Spirit will be your personal instructor on this very day. What the Lord teaches you today from a particular passage might not be the same as what He will teach you next year. Remember, the Word of God is living and is useful in all areas of our lives at all times of our lives. As you seek God in His Word, learn from Him and apply the Word to your life situation, you will grow closer to Him, communicate with Him more through prayer, and be changed to become more and more like Jesus every day. I pray that you will focus on the many benefits of BSF and prayerfully consider the purpose of the “rules” of the program–they are not really rules, but time-proven techniques that give you personally the most meaningful benefits. You might enjoy reading of the life and commitment of Hudson Taylor, the founder of the Inland China Mission, and the autobiography of Wetherell Johnson who began what became BSF because five women in California wanted to learn more about the Lord through His word. Prayerfully submitted.

  8. Becky Lynn says:

    BSF is a little “old school”. Hopefully they will learn to change with the times. If they are opposed to change then we should go back to everyone, men included, wearing long robes and sandals. Oh and walk everywhere we go. Do what God is telling you to do, because he is the only one you have to answer to.

    • Sparkle Freak says:

      They already have changed with the times.

      Sent from my iPad

      • Bama Girl says:

        I agree with you. The focus is for “Eradication of Biblical Poverty” in whatever format it takes to reach the world, but always centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and His revelation in the Bible–the living Word of God.

  9. Michelle says:

    Seriously I’m thinking you need to find a different BSF class AtoZmom. The experiences you relay are not happening elsewhere that I’m aware of (the shooshing, the shocked glances, the “thrusting” of papers, really?) I live in a big sprawling metropolis where practically everyone uses a smart phone or iPad bible. I’m beginning to think you live in the backwoods sticks where they still think jeans are a sin. I cant get over some of the reactions you describe. BSF does NOT have a rule against googling ladies. There is no rule!! They suggest prayer first. Always. Keyword: suggest. I’m in administrative leadership here guys, I think I would know. My main job is to help our class get technology savvy. Their main focus is to reach the next generation and all that brings with it, technology, an online presence, online listening of the lecture on smart phones, ( or tablets, laptops, desktops what have you) for the children’s leaders. They want the members to learn and grow in Christ and see how the Holy Spirit guides and directs you through his word. Who is to say that the Spirit can’t use google? Lol. I’m sorry for you AtoZmom that your class seems to be stuck in the dark ages. That is not my experience at all.

    • Michelle says:

      adding, my main job is the ladies first, taking care of them….then it’s to assist my class in the growing need for technology. Just wanted to clarify that when I said main job I meant task, not focus.

    • Vickie says:

      Michelle, to quote you: “I’m beginning to think you live in the backwoods sticks where they still think jeans are a sin,” and “I’m sorry for you AtoZmom that your class seems to be stuck in the dark ages.”

      This is not the kind of comment I would expect from from a Christian, and especially from a BSF member and leader. Those words and thoughts are mean-spirited. Some of what AtoZMom shared takes place in the BSF Group I’m in, and I live in a large sprawling metroplex! We were told (1) not to use any reference except our bible, preferably the NIV (2) don’t use the notes from your study Bible, (3) do not use the internet, and (4) when I joined BSF three years ago, I mentioned how a particular scripture read in The Message Bible and you’d have thought I screamed a curse word! This is very restrictive and controlling. I’ve learned more about the Bible and the people therein by searching the Internet and using Google or Ask! An example of how controlling BSF is, I offered to my discussion leader to show the ladies how to download the questions (as a PDF file) and convert then convert to a Word doc. She said, “No, it may make any ladies who are technically challanged uncomfortable. So, every week I watch these ladies squinting, trying to read their answers written in teeny-tiny penmanship. Please back off AtoZMom – she is a sister in Christ and shares her thoughts with us and should not be attacked for how or what she says. I will answer the questions and then check out what she says. If it’s the same or similar, I stick with my answers; if different, I search further to see if I missed the mark. Michelle, no one is forcing you to come to this site. If it annoys you so much, then don’t read it.

      Good sites to use: http://www.biblia.com; biblegateway, blueletterbible.org; gotquestions.org – there are lots more you can find that will be helpful in your quest to learn God’s word. Be blessed, stay strong, and stay prayed up!

      • Michelle says:

        It wasn’t in any way mean spirited Vickie, it was a joke that was said tongue in cheek. I wish she could find a different class. A more positive one may help her overall view of the organization. AtoZmom has had some pretty unfortunate experiences. I was commenting on those in total, I didnt mean to offend. Truly.

        I never said this site annoys me, ever. To tell me to “back off” was harsh, so I guess we both have our faults or miscommunications, whichever the case may be.

        I geniunely feel badly for those of you who have had these experiences. It’s a shame. I come from a class where my teaching leader uses the Message translation at times for her lectures. In fact, she introduced me to it! They’ve encouraged me to show members, on my iPad, how to download lessons or access the recorded lecture, even download a digital bible. So clearly my BSF is different. It’s not perfect. We have had issues here and there but we are a team spreading God’s word so we cast those differences aside.

        You have to understand my comments in context. I’m an unconventional Christian girl, I wear leather studded motorcycle boots with jeans. i love rhinestones and theyre all over my belts. I’m funky and a little edgy. I’ve been like this for years and have never gotten boo about it, in fact I was called into leadership. I’ve also googled for years, again no issues, so you have to give me room for being shocked over some of the reactions mentioned here. I’m not criticizing at all, or doubting them, just surprised.

        I love Jesus and serve him with my whole heart. I have no issue with AtoZ. I have felt that she sometimes sees BSF through a negative lens at times but even she admits that. I think they are not the enemy, we’re lucky to have them. I do call it like I see it, I challenge sometimes. I exort sometimes, but I never, ever attack and I always try to show love. If my joke didn’t come off as such, I apologize. I am genuinely surprised by the interactions she, and some of you, have at your classes. It just hasn’t been my experience or of those I know who attend at the five classes we have in our area. I wasnt belittleing or disrespecting, i was just wishing she could geniunely find a different class. in the end let’s give them time folks…they’re changing. 🙂

      • Michelle says:

        Adding…we have to remember our leaders are human (as I have so aptly proven, lol) and sometimes are confused themselves about the guidelines or new focus of the organization. Things were very different back in the day when BSF started and some still harken back to that time.

        Pray for your leaders guys. You have no idea the type of attack and spiritual warfare they face constantly once they go into leadership. It has been brutal in my own life. I do tend to defend the group as a whole because these people work selflessly, pray diligently and serve wholeheartedly each week out of service to God and love for you to provide you with these lesson. It is because if that that I tend to defend. Again if I hurt anyone I do sincerely apologize.

      • Bama Girl says:

        Concordances are always encouraged when answering “challenge” questions. Most Bibles have a concordance at the end of the text–not a complete on, but still very useful. Many Bibles have cross-references in the margins that refer one to other verses related to what is stated in a particular verse. You are encouraged to use these materials in your study. BSF does ask that one not use the notes in a study Bible or read commentaries until after the lecture for a particular lesson. Then one is “free” to read notes and commentaries to one’s heart’s content. The reason for this is for women and men to discover how God meets us in His Word, for each one to grow deeper in a personal relationship with God, to rely on the Holy Spirit to teach and transform through the personal application of God’s Word to one’s life. The Bible is a great commentary on the Bible in an of itself. Since it is the Divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God, it is complete unto itself. But we all like to read trusted commentaries of the great men and women of faith for assurance and clarification of our study as we dig deeper into the riches of God’s Word.

      • Pete says:

        Bama Girl – I understand and agree with your analysis, except for one further point. We should communicate with God on a personal level through a “quiet time” with Him in prayer and reading the Word separate from “studying the Bible for knowledge about God and learning the Word”. BSF and studying the Bible to answer questions about the text (even including using hermeneutics as BSF suggests) should never replace being alone with Him daily. I try to never use commentaries, concordances, or any other help, other than sometimes a short devotional, when alone with God daily.

  10. Marcie says:

    AtoZmom, I have been following your blog since the start of BSF this year, and after 4 years in BSF still feel like a baby Christian in the bible. I have always tried to answer the questions to my best capability first, then if after I have gone through the entire lesson feel stuck, check out what you have to say for somewhere to go to get some insight. I think sometimes in discussion group I hear very similar words and phrases that may have been “borrowed” from your answers coming from the other gals which makes me feel comfortable knowing others get stuck and may be looking for perspective here as well. I realize God’s biblical truth is number 1, but sometimes I just. don’t. get. it. I agree with the other commenter who said God wants us to learn, and sometimes that is from others. But I also believe He wants us to discern, and that is from the Holy Spirit. I need nudges to feel, see and understand. I ultimately believe He will teach us what we need to learn. The Teacher will come to the student…You do a great job with your googling…I love the extra maps, and reference points that give me factual background to the stories and history. Thank you. If you have prayed and feel called by God to write this blog, you don’t need to defend what you are doing.

  11. jack says:

    Check out e-sword.com. Many bible translations, look up words, phrases, etc, notes and more, and mostly free.

  12. kalliekaykat says:

    I’m just curious. Why was the teaching leader in your class? Do you mean your ‘group leader’?

  13. Leslie says:

    I enjoy doing my Bible study at home. I enjoy you and your comments, I love the Lord and His teachings, but I’m not to happy with my group at BSF. Most of the groups that I have been in over the years, always seem to have that one person that makes you wish that you had stayed in bed that day; that one person (maybe two) who thinks that they know it all. They are very expressive, with their hands flying everywhere, and they seem to trail off the subject and end up…..well, I don’t know, I’m still trying to figure them out.
    I understand that BSF has to have rules, especially when it comes to the Bible you must use, we need to give our answers in our group from the same Bible, but we should be free to find our answers anywhere; including GOGGLE.

  14. Without knowledge they will parish, God wants us to understand and learn His Word. That is why he has given us technology to aid us in quickly learning who He Is and where we fit in the grand schem of things. We are running out of time, so use all the advantages that our God has provided for us! God Bless,and keep you his.

  15. RunGirl says:

    I’m with you on this….if I couldn’t google something then I wouldn’t continue with this study. I’ve heard several leaders say they googled something and no one gasped or shook their heads. I’m thankful for your website ans google for when I’m stumped.

  16. Pete says:

    There are only 2 reasons that I can come up with for BSF’s position. One, they feel (and I agree with them) that one learns the Word best by using it alone as much as possible. Lots of folks are like you were, Atozmom, in that they are relative beginners and don’t know what the books are, much less where to find them or whats in them. Secondly, there is a doctrine in Christian theology called Sola Scriptura (scripture alone) that states people should rely solely on the Bible when reading, exegeting, etc. The rationale is that extra biblical works, like the Book of Mormon, are discouraged in our Holy Bible. Some scholars even go so far as to belittle using Devotionals during one’s quiet time! But, I can’t believe the good people at BSF HQ would agree with that doctrine!

    My group in TN has let up this year and has no problem with us using helps, like Commentaries, as needed of course. Yea, I agree with all above comments that we alsolearn by discovering how others interpret the scripture (and our BSF questions)!

    • Sweet Mama says:

      Good to know, Pete and Michelle, that a lot of this is “that’s the way we’ve always done it” versus what is really the intent of BSF as they embrace technology! We can all pray for these people who are struggling with transitions. We can be gracious and try not to push them faster than they can absorb. For people who have been in leadership for years when women weren’t even allowed to wear trousers or dresses that didn’t come below the knee and so on, it must be tough. We are thankful for their faithful leadership and grateful to them. Many are making the transitions just fine, if a bit slowly, and we can pray the others catch up and that we are patient. I’m trying my best to not get frustrated and to be patient and kind. Some days I am more successful than others as managing to stay away from the frustration place. Thanks for all the comments above so I know I’m not alone! I think Headquarters is trying really hard to embrace this new frontier of communication. Let’s all keep praying for them and all their work!

      • Michelle says:

        I’m in one of the classes where the leader’s manual is on our tablet. I think we shouldn’t ever copy any answers as our own but I’ve used google to look up reference scriptures for years. I was raised as a believer too but I love the ease of looking things up that way. Seriously let’s just grow in Christ and embrace the various methods we can use to get there. 🙂

  17. portia6996 says:

    You are describing the BSF of twenty years ago. It’s not like that anymore – at least not in my class. But before Google, I used “The NIV Exhaustive Concordance”. It’s like “Google on paper”. Back then, we were “allowed” to use the scripture references in the center column of our Bibles and a concordance. When I came back for Isaiah (and stayed) I started using the Internet, and I don’t think anyone cares. I’m sorry your class has not embraced technology the way mine has.

  18. Lizbeth says:

    I also wonder where you attend BSF, because the reactions you are receiving aren’t something that I would see happening in our class (but we wear jeans!) and we use iPads and iPhone bible apps in class.

    I do have to say that I appreciate BSF’s suggestion that we try to answer without the use of a commentary. This causes me to stretch myself and rely on the Holy Spirit more than I would otherwise, but this is just my feeling. When I do use outside resources–because there are times when I just don’t get it, then I try to respect BSF’s suggested method of study and not answer that question in my group. I have been in groups where women relied on outside commentaries for their answers and honestly those discussions were a bummer to be in–too much passing off someone else’s view as your own and trying to “look good” for the group. I much prefer hearing women share how hard it was to figure out an answer and this is their best attempt. I always try to encourage my small group on those questions, with things like this was hard in leaders or we had varied answers, etc. to let them know its okay to not have it all figured out. Besides that is what discussion is for!

    Attending BSF is a choice. There are many other types of bibles studies that I could choose to be a part of, but I’ve chosen BSF. I try to submit to their guidelines even if I don’t personally agree. For me it’s about respect and trying to see the bigger picture. I’ve traveled outside of the US to do missions work and cultures are sometimes surprising and baffling from my American viewpoint (multiple wives, vodo, ancestry worship?). BSF tries to establish base guidelines that are applicable across the world, so a rule that may seem stifling to me may be perfectly reasonable and necessary for a woman from a different culture. I really think most of these issues are more about a person’s heart…the shushing woman and possibly a bit of a critical attitude by others.

  19. David L. says:

    This is the best advice that I have received since my daughter in law gave me your link!!

  20. Susan says:

    Thank you for always being honest in your post. It is my 3rd year in BSF and the first year doing Isaah was so hard for me I almost did not go back. But thanks to your blog and Google I love learning the Word and it is not about my struggle to do my lesson, I look forward to each week now! Any tool that helps me learn is a good thing.

  21. Pat & Tom Waite says:

    Dear Sister in Christ,

    I google, too, for the exact same reasons! I use Bible Gateway all the time and google other questions as needed.

    How blessed I am to have found this BSF study AND google.

    The Lord has opened many doors for me to draw nearer to Him.

    Thank you for your truth!

    God Bless You

    Pat Waite

  22. Barb Johnston says:

    Thank you very much. I’ll start utilizing Google as well. I use your notes all the time & don’t give a flip who likes it. Yes, I will look it up in the Bible but sometimes it’s easier to use your verbage when I can’t come up with what I mean to say. After I read your answers, I can fully understand what I’m reading and trying to put together in words myself. So I really don’t care if BSF likes it or not, I’ll get my answers anywhere I can and will continue to attend BSF because it does keep me close to God and the Bible where I should be. However, I won’t be restricted by someone’s ridiculous rules.

  23. kalliekaykat says:

    It Always pains me when I read comments such as Barbs. It sounds so confrontational and arrogant. BSF is a ministry composed of hundreds of volunteers who devote their time to helping us learn God’s word. It is not a business! And the meager contributions that many people give don’t even cover the costs of their lesson. Yet despite their receiving a high quality Bible study virtually free, they refuse to abide by time honored guidelines. Instead, they are defiant! The Lord said that we should submit to authority. In this class, the BSF Board (or whoever is giving the guidelines) IS our authority. Perhaps all of us need to learn about humility and about submission. BSF is not our adversary. The griping, grumbling and complaining only hurts the program. Instead of being “users” why don’t you spend time lifting it up in prayer? And maybe in a little self evaluation! Consider whether the Lord is pleased with your defiant attitude

    • kalliekaykat says:

      One more thing. I do not read any of AtoZmoms answers until after my class is over.

      • Michelle says:

        Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, so much kalliekaykat! That was so unbelievably well said. Like you, I come here after my lesson is done. I have only read one or two summaries over 3 years, that’s not why I come…I have just liked reading the comments from the posters. Not so much any more… This “BSF is the bad guy” mindset is really frustrating to me.

  24. Michelle says:

    I have a sincere question. To those who are irked about the guidelines at BSF, who feel the guidelines are overly restrictive and inhibiting your personal freedoms in study, who feel the program is not meeting your needs as a result of any one of the guidelines… how many of you who complain have given back to meet the needs of BSF? I mean really given your time to step up and help? Have you tried through humble service to turn the tide of the areas you disagree with? Unless you have, you truly have no idea how much time is given on your behalf in prayer, planning, studying & training to give you this study each week. So I ask, do you do your part to serve or are you just a consumer and critic of the program?

    I’m just one volunteer in my class of 40 leaders. I personally give FIFTEEN hours a week so ladies can have a class. Fifteen. A week. Perhaps the needs of my class are unique but none the less that’s what all my responsibilities in total require. That is a part time job and as Kallie pointed out, no one gets paid. Its a labor of love. I don’t mention all this for any other reason than to say when I see attitudes like the one from Barb I get so bummed out. I’m grateful for the blessing of serving and I’m doing it for God but these attitudes discourage me in my service to no end. I think, why am I doing it if people go home grumbling this much about a vague, non-inforced guideline? The answer of course is for God. It still saddens me though. I had hoped that ladies went home blessed and full in the ability to study God’s word together and better able to tackle their lives in faith. I wonder, is this griping an American thing?

    I implore you all to pray for your perspective and to pray for your leaders, they’re human, they’re sinners, they’re volunteers, but they are trying!! Sometimes under impossible hardship. Instead of bashing them and the guidelines as “ridiculous”, pray that you can support them and that God will refine you as he is refining them through the surrendering of your will to His. They don’t deserve the grumbling, the organization or the leaders; even if they have an off day, even if they are encouraging you to follow guidelines you don’t agree with, you should at least give them respect and support. Please don’t mock them online and stand proud in your defiance.

    Maybe I don’t belong here…I get the feeling this negative slant toward the program isn’t ever going to change. I don’t get it…. 😦

    Hugs to my sisters. Praying for us all.

    .

    • atozmom says:

      Michelle,

      I think you are taking some of these comments way too personally. I would even submit to you that I sense a bit of pride coming out in your last post about the number of hours put in and the lack of recognition. Perhaps you are losing the fact that it is about God and not how many hours you put in for Him.

      Complaining is NOT an American thing. It’s a human thing. Remember Cain complaining to God himself about his punishment? Seriously? The guy committed murder. He deserved much more than what he got.

      I’m not sure this is complaining. BSF has made huge changes this year. HUGE. Ask yourself why is that? Because of people here on this forum voicing their “complaints” about the program. Criticism is good and healthy as long as it’s done out of love and through prayer. It’s the only way anything (and I mean anything) is ever changed. Human rights, animal rights, rights of children, rights as a woman, voting rights, all came about because someone stood up and voiced their opinion and belief. It’s the only way the status quo EVER changes.

      Otherwise, we’d all be stuck in the Stone Age with people doing whatever they felt like with no rules or regard to others.

      The press would have no job if they didn’t report and comment on events going on around them. We have laws in this country because of what has happened in the past. Laws to protect animals, children, each other. Laws to grant equal rights under the Constitution. Laws so we all can vote and exercise our right to “criticize” politicians by voting them out of office.

      Sitting by when we don’t agree with something and saying nothing is not who I am, now who I was raised to be, not my duty to my country, my family, etc. Opinions are good and as long as you have an open heart they often bring about much needed reforms.

      Now on the “given back your time”. You will need to educate me on this one probably.

      I can’t tell you the number of times I get hits on this site with people asking how to be in leadership, how to volunteer, what are the requirements to be a leader.

      I have been told you must be asked to be a leader, to volunteer your time, to help out. I have been told you must meet certain guidelines (at least in the past–like you used to have to be married and not divorced I know that for a fact). I have been told you must meet all this criteria to EVEN BE CONSIDERED to put in the 15 hours that you taut.

      I have been told you must put in a certain number of volunteer hours at your church and you must get a pastor recommendation to be a leader. I go to a large church. My pastor doesn’t know who I am let alone my first name.

      Some people don’t go to church regularly who attend BSF. Or they just moved and haven’t found a home church yet. Yet this restricts them from doing God’s work with BSF.

      Is this correct?

      To me, at least in the past, this is very restrictive and probably prevents many from volunteering to help BSF in any capacity. I know in my class I have no idea how to begin. It is not emphasized. They say to volunteer with the kids (which I have done) but that’s about it. Once or twice a year.

      I would submit to you where is the opportunity. My leaders here are very unapproachable to say the least if you want to be honest.

      How would someone new to the Bible who feels inadequate themselves get involved in such an organization? Perhaps you should focus your attention more on that instead of “complaining” how you feel unappreciated. You are choosing to be discouraged. No one is making you feel that way. You are choosing to let these comments get to you.

      You should know in your heart how you are serving. And God knows. That is enough. It shouldn’t matter what you read here or how it makes you feel.

      Yes, I think you belong here. You add much to this forum and for that I thank you. You bring a unique perspective (and I liked how you described yourself–would love to meet you some day!) and many here appreciate it.

      Also, only a small percentage of visitors/subscribers here actually comment. You must keep that in mind as well. What you read may or may not reflect “everyone”. You cannot take the fact you read from 5 for example people how restrictive BSF is and generalize it to the entire attendants. It may or may not be true.

      I have never seen a lack of respect. For I remove those comments. Like I said, criticism is good. You just have to take it in the right way. And not everyone is gifted in tact or using English for that matter. But their point is from the heart.

      NO ONE is being mocked. You would need to be specific here because I have read nothing on this forum (and I read and control everything) that would be construed as mocking so I think you exaggerated a bit there.

      NO ONE is standing in defiance. They are merely saying they google. Like you did. Period. End of story. Barb (who is a first time commenter here and if she is attacked by you all, may not post again 😦 ) strikes me as the type to say it like it is. Which she did. I would bet she talks like that. Honestly.

      That’s what this forum is about. People who can be honest where they can’t be in person. Why do you think I’m anonymous? So I can say whatever I want without looks, comments, or judgments when I’m in class from others who are not being Godly.

      Don’t knock her for calling the rules “ridiculous”. For some are. And many in the past (which are no longer) were. Like the being divorced example (which may or may not still be in place). These were judgmental and kept many wonderful, Godly people from giving of their time to BSF.

      Until BSF is totally inclusive and doesn’t judge people based on what they wear or how many marriages they had or if they volunteer in a home church and how many hours they put in, etc, they will continue to struggle to get volunteers. That’s just a plain fact.

      BSF is not uniform worldwide from what I have seen. Attendees are told different rules to follow. Things are done differently. It’s hard to control with an organization as big as BSF. For people are in charge. And as you said, people are sinners.

      That’s my 2 cents. Take it or leave it.

      I hope you stay and take what I have said in the love it was meant. For you know I don’t comment often. But I just felt you were so “down” about it all I thought I’d give you a fresh perspective.

      God bless! And I will be praying (as always) for everyone here and for BSF!

      • Pete says:

        Very well said, atozmom! Each small group leader in BSF has been told to be on the lookout for potential leaders in their groups. I have been asked for the last 2 yrs. if I would be so interested. I have not felt guided by God to dive into this, especially due to the time commitment. I already lead a weekly men’s small group from my church and mentor an inner-city kid. I take BSF because it is forced Bible study and I need that accountability!

  25. Michelle says:

    AtoZ, have you ever been frustrated, then written out your frustrations, posted, gone to bed, awoken the next morning and thought…ugh? That is me. I was frustrated when I read Barb’s post. The lack of humility and submission kind of irked me to the core. But as always, it is her right not only to feel that way but to also post about it. I apologize for the angst in my post, I was thinking out loud. I should have slept on it. I have a wee bit of Peter in me. hahaha. Good thing there wasn’t a soldier standing near by and I had a sword or someone would be missing an ear. lol.

    I don’t have time to adequately respond to your comments right now, I will and I so appreciate them. I’d like to say for now at least that if I am being completely honest, I am beginning to realize that the “us” and “them” mentality I sometimes see is what gets to me. We are all on the same team. I am all for critiques, that IS how we learn and grow and are refined but there is a subtle attitude shift between constructive criticism and tearing down…I guess we are all a work in progress.

    I see how much prayer goes into the planning of BSF from headquarters on down. They pray so much for everyone in the program. They are changing and many of the complaints I see here are not an issue at my class but I do realize that they are an issue elsewhere so for that reason alone I suppose people should discuss them freely. I will bite my tongue. Just know that at BSF leader’s retreat they ask for suggestions, many of the issues raised here have been things I have suggested years ago. After 13 or whatever years that I have been involved with them I have seen huge strides in their perspective. I hate to see things called “rules” when their simply guidelines for fear it will turn people off or away from such a valuable program. That is my own personal hang up. The founder is a former Marine and it used to be run like that, thankfully it is changing. They are moving in the right direction.

    Ok, gotta run, will right more later. Thanks for the time you took to respond AtoZ. 🙂

  26. Sue says:

    Amen!!!!!

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