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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Mark 10:1-34

Those of us who are ordained ministers have a challenge that most folks don’t fully appreciate. You see in order to be ordained, each of us spends at least three years in seminary where we are blessed to have the experience of learning about a wide variety of things ranging from Christian history to theology to biblical studies. Our heads get filled with rich, wonderful information about lots of things. Then – after a wonderful three (or more) years of exploration – we are sent out into the world to do this thing called ministry.

That transition can be extremely abrupt. There are lots of reasons why the transition is so abrupt. One of those reasons is because when we leave seminary, we are coming from a place where we have focused on the complexities of our faith. That complexity is often not what most folks out “in the real world” are looking for. When a person suddenly loses a loved one, for instance, they aren’t looking for an explanation of the evolved understanding of the afterlife as contained in the scriptures. And when a person deals with a spouse’s infidelity and cries out, “Why?” rarely do they find an answer that compares the virtues of a panentheistic theology versus a transcendent theology.

In other words, our challenge as seminary trained folks is to reclaim the essence of Jesus’ words to the disciples when he said, “Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”

“So what are you saying, Craig? That our faith must be anti-intellectual?”

Absolutely not!

Instead, what I carry from Jesus’ words is that our faith – like a house – should have a solid, straight-forward foundation: a foundation upon which one can spend one’s lifetime building. No matter how elaborate the house gets, however, the simple foundation remains intact.

So where are you at with this issue of simplicity? Do you see simplicity in regards to your faith as a good thing or as a harmful thing?

Til next time…

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