Before I came to seminary I had several “priestly” friends tell me that the first year of seminary tears apart much of what you think and believe about faith and the second two years are spent putting it all back together again. Since more than one person told me this, you’d think I’d have paid better attention, but sometimes I’m funny that way. So here I was cruising through the first semester feeling like a sponge and soaking in all of the knowledge that my professors want to impart upon us … when all of the sudden I realized that this knowledge was beginning to change how I think about some things. Yeah, I know, everyone is saying “duh, they told you this would happen”, but it really took me by surprise. And, being a bit stubborn, I reacted with “I DON’T WANT THIS TO CHANGE ME!” and my New Testament class happened to be in the way and was the target of my reaction.
A few weeks ago, in a conversation with another student and our advisor, the other student said he wasn’t sure if he was comfortable doing something and our advisor responded sarcastically “and we all know that Jesus only asks us to do things that make us comfortable.” (It’s okay, we love our advisor, he really is a wonderfully wise man so his sarcasm doesn’t offend, it makes us laugh and then really think. Besides he has an English accent so everything he says sounds proper anyway.)
This weekend in one of the papers I’m working on I’m talking about how some churches focus on making all who attend “comfortable” and how in the process of trying to attract additional members, they are not only ensuring physical comfort (which I’m all for) but also spiritual comfort. The conclusion I’m coming to is that may not always be the right thing. If we only ever hear those things which make us comfortable and at ease, if we are never challenged to look inward and reflect, how do we grow?
Hmmmm, do you think God is trying to teach me something here? Let’s all join in a resounding chorus of “duh!” and I’ll get back to my papers and reading … and the journey continues …
God’s Peace, my friends!