About a month ago, at the encouragement of a friend who knows the intricate workings of my geeky heart, I enrolled in an Intro to Theology class. I have always been interested in theology; after all, we all have one whether we know how to articulate it or not. Seminary, or any post-graaduate education, isn’t really an option for me at this point so a coffee shop theology class that was touted to be as good as any I’d find in a classroom seemed right up my alley.
I wasn’t really prepared for the absolute wrecking it would do in my life. It’s not like critical thinking is a new concept to me; I went to a liberal arts university. Critical thinking was a required skill. Yet, I realize that the further I got out from that time in my life, the less I used my brain and defaulted instead to emtion, cliches and warm fuzzies. Also critical thinking isn’t popular – those who do are many times cast as “kill joys” or “hypercritical” just for asking questions, for not assuming that what someone we like says is gospel; even moreso that something we like to believe may not be entirely true.
So I am sitting in this class from day one realizing that I sort of stopped Loving God with my mind ( Matthew 22:37) a long time ago, or did I ever start at all? Have I handled the Bible correctly? Have I mispoken and thus misrepresented God whether intentional or not? Not that my aim is to be perfect; I have a big mouth and too many words so something stupid is bound to be uttered from time to time, even so . . . (2 Timothy 2:15) I don’t want to look on my work and be ashamed.
So, baby steps. Baby steps to the truth, Bob. Like I said to the same friend who encouraged me to take on thia endeavour, “The first lesson learned is that really tackling theology takes a great deal of courage.” You have to have some bravery to kill beliefs that are based on folklore and emotion rather than truth that’s been hard learned and researched and fought for. It takes guts to admit that you’ve been wrong and sometimes that you have indeed been right. It takes heart to keep pushing through the muck of shaky teaching, sensationalism and emotion to get to heart of what you believe and why you believe it. But it’s worth it.
Do I have all the answers? Hardly. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know, and I’m just getting started.