Saturday, May 31, 2014


There is a rueful joke told among seminarians, which is essentially to ask the question "How many times have you lost your faith so far?"  Being in seminary, one is forced confront the presuppositions and inconsistencies in one's own belief system.  One has to dwell upon Biblical passages that were previously glossed over, peeling back the waxy yellow build-up of 2,000 years of theology to try to peer into the bare underpinnings.  One also gets taken into the back room to see how the sausage of church doctrine is made.  The historical church councils that produced the creeds of Christendom tended to be ugly and unspiritual affairs.  In seminary one is also confronted by the reality that there are lots of really smart and amazing and devout people who believe in very different ways.

My faith is based in the experience of the abiding sense of God's loving presence that I have been aware of for the past 30 years.  This has given me a freedom to push some boundaries to see what would happen and to ask some uncomfortable questions to see what the implications might be.  I also credit my Quaker faith and my Quaker community with giving me a sense of safety and freedom from which I can push and probe and poke and prod. 

A fundamentalist pastor that I sat under for a few years early in my Christian walk liked to refer disparagingly to seminary as "cemetery"--the clear inference being that becoming educated about one's faith would kill it.  He was right.  But, as my all-time favorite teacher once said, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."


Post a Comment

<< Home