Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nose Clips

A student walked up to my desk recently at the Write His Answer conference in Philly. He placed in my hand a strange plastic object, a nose clip. I put it on and then had great fun with it, especially after he handed me a whole bag of them. Faculty members seeing my roomie, Lissa Halls Johnson, and me wearing them, of course, each wanted his/her own nose clip. Soon the bag was depleted, but not before we initiated Marlene Bagnull into the nose clip cult.

I sent an email to the student thanking him for the fun gift. He emailed back, probably not nearly as amused as I, but polite and gracious. He is a scientist and performs experiments regarding human smell. He said that if I would put on the nose clip and taste of some food, say a salad with garlic croutons, that I would notice first of all the heightened discernment of the food’s texture. Then if I would take another bite and remove said clip, then my mouth would suddenly burst with flavor.

I had not thought too much of the joint effort of both tongue and nose to bring such pleasure to my eating experience. But what struck me was the burst of flavor, the heightened sense of taste that explodes when the nose is suddenly engaged.

A few years back a writer friend (Francine Rivers) talked a bunch of us into joining an inductive Bible study. We discussed spiritual themes in cyberspace and on occasion did group bible studies online. I had gone through a period of disappointment over some false teachings spreading throughout the church. I could pick out scriptures that proved the errors. But when refuted by those who insisted on feeding the flock the yuck from agenda-driven translation, I felt a little wobbly. Her suggestion was a word from God as far as I was concerned.

I found such a study (BSF) in my area and joined. After the rigors of the accountability talks it takes to be allowed to join, I then dove into the study. Inductive study is a whole different animal than thematic studies or group video series. First there are the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How’s of dissecting scripture. Then I learned to compare scripture to scripture rather than the old way of picking through until I found a nugget that fit my theme. Suddenly the Bible was exploding in my Spirit. Revelation was coming at me rapid fire. The Spirit in me was working in conjunction with biblical text as a whole work. The nose clip was off, all spiritual tools engaged.

It’s fun now to see a woman’s eyes light up when she removes any prior notions about Bible study and engages fully in the language and meaning. The journey of faith should never grow stale and tasteless.