Every Wednesday night, right around 7 p.m., thousands of Bible studies are starting in churches across the country. The lighting is generally bad, the coffee weak, and the furniture aging. Everyone’s tired from the workday, and not necessarily ready for a close study of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. But the midweek Bible study is a standard of contemporary American Christianity, a spiritual and community check-in.On Wednesday night at Jubilee Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a group sits around the same sort of rickety conference table you’d find in churches all over the town, the state, the country. In the cabinets behind them, there are old Baptist tracts and stacks of New Testaments with covers declaring GOOD NEWS AMERICA, GOD LOVES YOU. But no one’s reading Galatians tonight. They’re reading Karl Marx.“Let’s go around and introduce ourselves,” says Joe Stapleton, the high school English teacher leading the class. “Names, pronouns, how you’re feeling.”Everyone opens their handouts — a section of Marx’s Capital, with handy summaries and annotations. They work slowly through the idea of use value versus exchange value and commodity fetishism. It’s most people’s first time with the material, and it’s admittedly a slog. At one point,… Read full this story
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