I love me a good commentary. I’m really glad that there are people way smarter than me who can help me to understand what a Biblical texts says or means.
But academics think too hard.
And that’s coming from someone who thinks too hard.
I remember having this problem when I was in college, studying theology. I did well in the classes that required a straightforward analysis of the text. Of course this required taking context, both historical and literary into account, but there wasn’t a whole lot of fuss and bother about it. For example, if a Psalm’s superscription read “of David,” then it was either written by David or by a school of musicians who styled themselves after David. No further discussion was necessary.
There were a few classes, however, that were very difficult for me because the thinking I had to do was…fuzzier. That’s the best word I’ve got for it. The words got longer and the concepts loftier. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the language or the ideas. I did. I still do. It’s that I found the whole thing frustrating. Why take five paragraphs and use words that contain more letters than the alphabet has in total to tell me that Jesus is cool? Why not just say that Jesus is cool?
I didn’t do so good in those classes.
I’m not bashing the academics. We need them. They’re the ones who know the ins and outs of the original languages. They’re the ones who “do” theology. They have gifts and talents from which we can all benefit. I’m just not one of them, so this blog isn’t going to get “smarter” any time soon. Sorry if you were waiting for that.
To me, “doing” theology and knowing all the right, complicated, Latin- Greek- and Hebrew-derived words doesn’t mean squat if you can’t bring it down to a practical, simple-as-possible level. That’s where I’m living right now. I’m not “doing” theology. I’m “living” theology. Give me the hard-and-fast basics about God, the things I can absolutely count on. I think of my journalism professor, who constantly told his students to cut out the “fluff” and boil the story down to the core. The essence.
There was a time when I enjoyed debating things like Calvinism vs. Arminianism vs. Somewhere-in-the-Middleism. I tried to unravel the mystery of why God created everything in the first place. Maybe I’ll enjoy that kind of stuff again one day, but right now, just tell it to me straight. Tell me about Jesus. I don’t have time or energy for the finer points.
Thankfully, God knows that. He speaks to me rather bluntly. Always has. I don’t experience my relationship with Him as some esoteric thing. He’s to-the-point. He’s direct. What’s funny about this is that I’ve started studying the book of Ezekiel, with it’s freaky-deaky visions and bizarre, symbolic acts. But in all that I see God pointing at His prophet and saying, “This is what’s wrong and this is how it can be fixed.” God cuts through the garbage and gets to the heart of things.
That’s what I want. That’s how I think. That’s how I view life, the universe and everything else. Not that it’s all strictly black-and-white or that many things aren’t hard to understand. Just give me Jesus. Just give me the One who can break through all the chaos and make it all so beautifully neat.
To read all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.