What I’m Reading Today: Colossians 2
I’m a person who has always enjoyed being a student. That’s because I love the experience of having another person share her or his passions with me – thereby opening another realm of the human experience to me.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you then to learn that I really enjoyed attending seminary. For the first time in my life, however, I discovered that as much as I loved to learn – there was a point at which I encountered some real frustration in the classroom.
At what point was that?
It was the point where we were talking about material in both my biblical studies class and Christian history classes where we were talking about material that most lay people weren’t familiar with. Some of it was difficult and unsettling material in terms of its implications.
“So how would you preach or teach that material on a Sunday morning?” one of my classmates asked.
“I don’t know,” the professor said. “It’s your job to figure it out.”
In that brief exchange during my final year of seminary, I realized that I was ready to move away from a life spent primarily exploring things in the abstract and begin to put some flesh and bones on those ideas. Instead of simply talking about a word like “sin”, for instance, I was ready to start journeying with those (including myself!) grappling with the effects of brokenness in their lives. Instead of reading about others notions of theodicy, I was ready to take someone’s hand grappling with a tragedy and listen as they cried out, “Why me?!” Instead of talking theoretically about the challenges of religious pluralism these days, I was ready to help interfaith couples explore ways to raise their children with integrity. In other words, my frustration in the classroom came from the fact that I realized it was time to put the thoughts we had spent years exploring into action.
The author of Colossians picks up on this same sense of urgency when he wrote: “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given… You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out: quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.”
Today I wonder if there is an area of your life in which you’ve lost yourself in the abstract: an area where you’ve spent so much time speculating about things that you’ve become immobilized. If that’s the case, take today’s words to heart and start putting your thoughts into action. As long as you stay connected to the Spirit, you’ll be in fine shape. You’ll have the added benefit of seeing your thoughts transform your world.
Til next time… (PS: Tomorrow I will be attending the Annual Meeting for the Southern-California/Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ in Santa Ana, CA so I won't be posting. I'll see you back on Monday morning!)