I went to receive the Eucharist in the line where the lady distributing It had some months back publicly ejected me from a Bible study group she was conducting. Apparently I had transgressed an unexpressed rule that this lady was ‘the sage on the stage’ and that she didn’t want anybody there who knew more than she did.
I had observed to myself that with only 4 people in the room, including this woman, that there ought not and surely wouldn’t be rigid formalities about discussion. I was wrong. In Protestant Bible studies I had been in, people are encouraged to join in the discussion. But, I have observed in Catholic parish-level study groups, in my town, anyway, that the Bible study leaders are rigidly hierarchical, and all you do is sit there and take notes, if you so choose.
I sent an email to the pastor outlining the incident, pointing out the irony that our parish mission statement says “all are welcome.” Well, I wasn’t welcome. AND, I had spent $65 to get the recommended study bible for the course.
The pastor offered no consolation, no excuse, no apology, no refund (for sure), etc.
I moved to a different parish for this and other reasons. In my reading of Jewish resources, the most educated scholars humbly lay back and draw no attention to themselves – in a lot of cases.
BUT, I say to myself, how can we evangelize if we don’t practice doing it among ourselves? Sometimes I don’t know if I know anything unless I try to explain it or relate it to somebody else. There is not an openness that would be most desirable certainly at the parish level.