DAVE: A friend suggested I might be interested in this Bible study on Saturdays. Weeks went by, I didn’t respond. I really wasn’t that interested. But this friend wouldn’t stop calling me saying, ‘Dave I really think you’d be interested in doing this. And I was like, ‘Okay, whatever.’ One particular Saturday, she called me at like, six o’clock in the morning and said ‘Dave, I really think you ought to go to this.’ Finally, I said, ‘Okay, fine.’ Grabbed my wife and went. We walked up the stairs of this synagogue-looking building and I thought, “Oh boy, we’re really getting into it here… let’s go find out.” When we walked in there was this man standing up at the podium having a Bible study but there wasn’t nobody else in there. We walked up and introduced. I just felt led to say to him, “Look I’m not interested in two things. I’m not interested in converting to Judaism. And every church I have ever attended has blown up [split].” And he replied, “That’s okay, you don’t need to convert. And there’s only two of us here, me and you, and I’ve got the door key.” In my mind, that said, “If we split, I’m the one that has to leave. He doesn’t, He’s got the key!” And here we are eleven years later.
ROSS: I got the keys to the synagogue in St Francisville, LA in December of 2005. I started going in the building and doing a Bible study. I didn’t want to advertise or put flyers out. I felt like whatever happens, happens; It’s not going to be me orchestrating it. From my side of the story, I would go in this abandon synagogue that no one was using… I mean wow, what are the chances of this small town having a synagogue that is not being used, I am interested in the Hebrew Bible and studying the Hebrew language. It was built in 1901 by the Jewish residents of this town. There are no longer any Jews left in the town. So I would go in there, study and pray. My prayer was that God would send people. The first people he sent was Dave and Sherry.
It’s always been our plan to be aligned with Heavens plan. We don’t try to force people to believe certain things. If someone comes in saying, “I believe this,” then someone else comes in saying, “I believe that,” Dave and I usually respond with, “What would you like in your coffee?” We are not interested arguing about which view is “right”. Our job is to just sit with other people who are interested in reading Scripture and simply search for answers to questions.
DAVE: We, Ross and I, have had to learn how to get along with ourselves and just have dialogue. We ask the hard questions and then try to listen. We’ve been created with two ears and one mouth for a reason. We learned how to incorporate that method with the group that started to come as well. We learned how to discuss controversial stuff without getting red faced and saying, “By God, this is the way it is!”
ROSS: It’s not all about agreeing; I don’t think we should be in agreement all of the time. We try to create an atmosphere of dialogue where I can have very firmly held convictions that I believe are fundamental to my faith but while I’m at the table, I am going to respect your position. It allows for authentic inquiry and allows for you to say “You know, I’ve never heard it talked like that. Maybe you’re right but here’s the way I understand it.” It doesn’t mean we agree on everything but what we have come to find out is that by doing it that way, we’ve mutually advanced our understanding. We want people to question and challenge things so together we can look into Scripture and find out what the Bible says.
Through the blessing of technology, the Bible study now reaches a world-wide community who come together for teaching, reading and dialogue. You are invited to join Ross and Dave in their weekly study, you can find them “live” online every Saturday at 10:30am CST.
For more information on how to join the live video forum, please visit: www.unitedisrael.org. Go to the top menu and click on “Teachings”. Then, in the drop down menu, click on “Weekly Shabbat Services Location and Online.”