I'm in a writing mood lately...maybe cause I have a little breathing room in my schedule to actually think and brood over my musings longer than a nanosecond.
I've been thinking a lot about my faith. Particularly, what it looks like from a pagan perspective. I think I can get away with murder in the Judeo-Christian circles, but I wonder what a secular soul would encounter should they cross paths with me, and what their internal "crap detector" would identify as queer and suspect. I know that I've grown accustom to my own theological warts and religious defects over time. I'm almost sure I don't see myself with sober judgement in certain areas. Their just have to be elements of "drunk judgement" going on inside my head that lead to a detrimental tunnel vision as it relates to my world view and self view. We all think we're the standard of level headed, moderate thinking. Balanced perfectly on the fulcrum of wisdom. This, quite frankly, is where my "hammered" judgement takes a turn toward the deep weeds.
"The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know." (I believe it's in 1 Corinthians 8 or ?) This verse slays me. It cuts to the quick, exposing my most vulnerable inner framework of understanding. Knowing something is always the first step toward not knowing something else. In the book, Made to Stick, they take a little different slant on this topic when the float their idea called "The curse of knowledge". This, they say, is "a person who forgets what it was like to not know what he or she now knows." They subtly become oblivious to the vantage points of others because they are so petrified in their own system of belief. This can especially be dangerous for a pastor given his safe and untested green house of authority and autonomy. Pastors can get lost--I speak from experience--in a buffered fantasy land, a time capsule of sorts, that cuts them off from the rest of society. They think their theology and psychology and sociology (all three critical components to Christ-centered living) are centered and universal. They sit unknowingly separated from realists and reality.
And here's the clincher, no one has the heart to tell them. Maybe it's because they think pastors don't have the heart to handle reality, maybe it's because they feel like maybe they aren't living in reality themselves and it will expose their secular-humanist hermeneutic...I don't know, but pastors live in a protected world of pity, largely ignorant of people's real feelings about them and the questions they have about their propensity to see everyday life through a glass darkly.
I fear that I've fallen prey to this pitiful place of protection. I don't mean to live buffered and shielded behind my position. I don't want any excuses for not engaging life as it is. I don't want anyone leaving me out of a conversation because "I just wouldn't understand". But is this already in the works. Do I live in a "believer's bubble"? Do I dwell apart from reality or a part of reality? I do not know.
But I digress.
My real question is what a person who isn't like me thinks about my interactions with them. I wonder if my thoughts hold up in the light of ordinary human scrutiny. Can I reason in the marketplace? Do my visions of life make sense to humanity or just Christianity? Do I have a functional faith that grapples with the nuances of reality, or do I gravitate to 6-8 soapboxes of thought that I regurgitate to the masses who quite conveniently espouse the same mentalities?
I've noticed that my thoughts and theories are losing their edge, the edge that only stays sharp though the grind of an equally hard substance, a substantive thought or theory that challenges my paradigm, my yoke of understanding. The dull blade of my belief is worrisome. It calls into question the strength of the belief if, in fact, the belief can't handle opposition (which is simply a counter "position"). I don't care if you call it "higher criticism" or "lower criticism", every belief needs criticism to keep it accountable to truth. The dross and chaff of unchallenged thinking must be separated from truth through the filter of healthy debate, be it playful banter or painful confrontation. This is the diamond file that grinds away all that speaks of dull and dead thought, language or activity. It is this intellectual rub that I'm missing...not cocky critics, but conscientious "critiquers". Critical thinking arouses me when it's motivated by a violent affection for the kingdom and a teachable and humble heart of studious exploration and adventure. Does anyone else know of what I'm feebly attempting to put into words?
I want a faith that isn't scared of investigation, an "audit" every now and again led by the world not our own peep's. An inventory that exposes "ignorant" traditions based on nothing more than personal comfort. An exploration of my mental framework to test its merit and meaning. This would do my heart good. It is what I don't know that I don't know that I fear. And how will I ever know until and unless I place myself in company of critics, a cloud of many witnesses who are chasing after the very thing I am, Truth in its truest and most naked form? How will I know otherwise? How will I be anything other than the clueless king who was carried through the public square, naked and unaware? Who will tell me that I don't have clothes on? Who will tell me that I am over-clothed? Who will tell me that I have the wrong clothes on altogether?
I, like many, run the risk of going to the grave untested, tamed by my fear of man. And tame is something that I can't bear the thought of being. Tame is lame. I simply must keep pressing to the dark edges asking the ineffable question, "What do I not know that I don't know?" Because the Word is clear, "He who thinks he knows something, doesn't know as he ought to know." This thought begs the question, "What do I think I know that I don't and how long will I live in this self-inflicted abyss of drunk judgement?"