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Her concerns

Professor,

Please forgive me for my late work. I have been working a lot again. I actually finally told them today that I can’t work so much anymore. I am exhausted! That is most of the reason for my late work.  But, there is more.  I am having a tough time with putting my words down. I am not a theological person. Personally, I couldn’t care less about when Christ is returning. I think that I should just prepare myself and be ready.

I hope this doesn’t sound harsh but I think that some of the theological things are silly. When I see squabbling over issues I am like, “please.” I really do not think God wants us to argue these things. I look at it as when kids are arguing who the parent loves more, or what the parent will say!  Silly!  I have a hard time putting thoughts down that I don’t care about.  Not that I am not knowledgeable on things, it’s just that my heart is so not geared to theological issues. I can’t understand why I have to take this class for my degree program.

I was near tears with frustration reading the book (it is very good defining the different opinions) but I am beside myself trying to defend one or the other. I wrote and looked at what I wrote and it is not creative and has no heart. I almost feel like a rebellious child saying why do I have to learn this when I have learned stuff and never had it applied to my life. I have never felt like I had to defend God.  I just tell people they can’t judge something they haven’t experienced or haven’t read the Bible themselves. I don’t argue issues. I am working on the class work.  I am just having a tough time.  HELP!

Thanks,

T__

My suggestions

Hi, T__, and thanks for writing and feeling free to express what is happening inside of you.  As I read and re-read your letter, various thoughts ran through my mind, and I would like to throw out several of them that might be of help.  If they aren’t helpful, toss them into the trash.

First, as a person dealing with medical issues, you know even better than I how exhaustion can cause other matters to be exaggerated.  I hope that not too much of that is happening to you.  Second, I have my doubts about your statement “I am not a theological person.”  I have read too much of your work to believe that.  Third, I don’t have doubts about your wanting topics to be applicable.  Again, I know that from having read a lot of your work.

Fourth, I agree with you that there is too much emphasis given, too much energy wasted, too much time poorly spent, too many relationships gone sour (and who knows how much other of such “stuff”) because people have lost common sense when it comes to the place of theology.  And, fifth, I agree with you that it makes little, if any sense, to think that we need to defend God.  It reminds me of the comment about defending a lion – the lion can jolly well take care of itself.

With these items being said, permit me to refer to, and expand a little, on “expectations.”   Not all studies related to our faith have the same purposes, same procedures, same dynamics, same prerequisites, same demands, etc.  But, the same can be said about studies related to medicine, physics, counseling, car repair, house construction, etc.  That is simply the reality of education, and it has to do with expectations, expectations that are adjusted to the situation.

I don’t expect the same from singing a hymn alongside a fellow Christian that I expect from sharing a meal with a fellow Christian.  The same is true about participating in a prayer meeting with intimate Christians that I expect from listening to Handel’s Messiah.  Neither do I expect the same from comforting a parent who has just lost a child in an accident and restraining a person who is experiencing a panic attack.

I ask, should we have the same expectations for every academic course we take?  We can, obviously, but I doubt the wisdom of that.  With some courses we can legitimately expect to consciously draw close to the Lord, or learn the method of studying parables, or become more aware of the environment in which Jesus ministered.  And, if those expectations aren’t met, we are disappointed.  When enrolled in other courses, we approach them with a different kind of expectation – the expectation to find out what makes some Christians tick, understand why some get upset, why they argue rather than build each other up, why they read some kind of books but not others, why they prioritize one way while we prioritize another way, or why they are judgmental, critical, cutting, etc..

T___, you have been around the block many times already in your life.  You have experiences in your “personal history bag” that some people should/would want to die for.  You have brought into your conversations wisdom that the other person hasn’t been able to bring.  I would like this course to be another trip around the block, another item in your personal history bag, another step deeper into wisdom.  When you put it all together, you will be an even better person, not just a person with more head smarts.

I hope this doesn’t come across as too ethereal.  I am just telling you what I tell myself when I get into situations where, if I had my natural druthers, I would get out of as fast as my legs would run.  And, in a way, your reading this has been an experience in getting to know someone better!!

So, T___ use this course as an experience in getting to know people better.  Don’t even think of taking it because I (the professor) hope you will be able to defend God better.  After all, God is the Lion of Judah!!!  He defends us; we don’t defend Him – it would be an exercise in futility to ever try.  And, if you see somebody trying to defend God, use the opportunity to learn something about them, not about God (except in a backhanded way).

Keep being blessed, T___.  God “loves to bless” and we can use all we can get!!

PS – please forgive my long windedness.

Vernon