Hawaii 2010

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Educated Clergy-the last of a dying breed

A diorama of a one room school house, the original american institution, in which scholars would be encouraged by the teacher to take a subject they were interested in and run past the others to learn more.

I read a post about a guy enjoying a local church bible study until the pastor decided to attend and ruins it by taking over.

We have many large churches here in the valley that boast that their pastor was a business man before called to preach and never needed to waste his time in seminary.

I joke quite a bit about my nine years of higher education that prepared me to preach, but how my barber knows more about the bible than I do, at least in his own opinion.

When you use the word scholarly in most modern discussions, you are booed out of the room.

We live in a world of instant information, and instant opinion, and infinite theological variety. I have been pondering an article I read that said if C.S. Lewis had been speaking and writing today he would have been thrown under the bus like many of today's innovative thinkers and writers. He had some unorthodox views of when Adam and Eve came along, was very inclusive of those who were in non Christian religions but had their hearts in the right place, and several other interesting thoughts.

I think what is happening with this explosion of information and opinion is good, but in many circles we get uneasy about the broadness of the discussion and as conservative folks we dig in and fight and split and are fearful.

Scholars of any stripe have spent time to look deeply, at the past, present, and future of thoughts, movements, historical writings, background languages, and thus many times their perspectives are unnerving to the person convinced that if he picks up the bible it will lead him directly to the right and only answer, no matter what his own bias, or innocence, or ignorance have left him unprepared to understand.

Thus in many, and sometimes most cases, the most popular views of any instant culture might actually be the most thoughtless and ill conceived. Thus the education and discipline of an educated clergy.

Which, I fear, are being thrown under the bus in popular evangelical culture. Which may by why highly educated people today are beginning to see the movement which led me to school and seminary as the haven for thoughtless people.

If considering myself anything of a scholar has any merit other than pride, it would be that I have been humble enough to know that I need the wisdom and foundation of deep reflection of men and women of every age and that I stand on the shoulders of those who spent their lifetimes in deep study of truth, and practice.

That being said, I might have a hard time encouraging a young God lover to take the hard road of scholarship in this climate. Yet, if they are hungry and searching, they won't listen, they will still take the road less traveled.

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