After a long day of lectures at United Theological Seminary, I’m slowing down and reflecting upon the day. Part of this process involves the opening of an adult beverage. This evening’s beverage is a Moundbuilder IPA from People’s Brewing Company of Lafayette, IN. It presents just as you would like an IPA- hoppy, with a hint of citrus, not too bitter. Just a delicious, refreshing beer to bring a long day to a close.
While at UTS, listening to a series of lectures on medieval theology, I found myself thinking about the condition of Christianity today.
One of the things I notice, especially within American Christianity, is the seeming lack of humility.
Whether one is progressive, moderate, or conservative, there seems to be an overwhelming sense of certainty that “I’m right. You’re wrong. That’s the end of the discussion.”
So, I have conservative friends that say, “The Bible says it. I believe. End of story.”
There are tons of problems with this line of thought. But, hey, it’s late and I don’t want to get into that right now.
I have moderate friends that are somewhat non-committal when it comes to various “hot button” issues. They are firm in their belief that “Jesus probably wants us to land in the middle. Jesus wants us to be able to agree to disagree.” So, I guess faithfulness leads us to indecisiveness.
Then, my progressive friends would say, “Well, you’re all full of it. This is the only way for the Church to move forward. And, if we don’t embrace (insert liberal theological viewpoint here), then we’re doomed.”
At the end of the day, I do believe that there is a lot of value in being “sold out” to one’s belief system. However, because there is a human element involved in every facet, we have to humbly leave some wiggle room. While I am fully convinced in what I believe, I am not so arrogant as to believe that my belief is the final answer, nor am I the ultimate authority. I’m okay with wrestling with uncertainty. I’m okay with a good deal of mystery. I’m okay with some wiggle room.
Maybe that’s what we need in the Church today…wiggle room. We’re on a journey of faith. We study. We pray. We struggle. And, we sometimes come down on different sides of various issues. And, maybe that’s okay.
However, what I see (in myself as much as anyone else), is a tendency to declare “I’m right.” But, these are complex times and we face complex issues. And, to be honest, the study of Scripture often leads to more questions than answers. So, to declare that I have discovered absolute truth seems a bit arrogant.
So, maybe, at the end of the day, at the end of our debates, we should be able to say, “I could be wrong.” But, this I know for sure…it’s time to finish my drink!