“…but you can’t take the gospel out of me.”
The thing I’m continually struck by, I think, as I think about me and my friends (and I don’t know the full stories of where they’re at right now), is that in the midst of everything, we don’t really know what we would do without the gospel.
I think we ask, we get angry, we weep, we dialogue, we read… and we don’t really know where we’re at or where we’re going. But when you get down to it, we love this story. We can’t imagine defining our lives by anything else. We are captivated by this mission. We want to hear, see, breath, think, speak, live the gospel. Because that’s the only thing that still makes sense to us.
And I wonder if there’s a sense in which that’s true for most people. If there’s this place you can be where you just know too much and it would be very hard to look at the world and NOT see it through this primary lens. If it would be possible to ever rest from pursuing God when you’ve imagined the possibility of truly good news. I mean, really–to who else would we turn?
Maybe I’m painting them with my own brush. But I think to an extent this is probably true–or else why would we be so set on pursuing these questions? We can’t just opt out of Christianity because we don’t know what to do with it all the time.
You can take our confidence out of Scripture, out of community, out of prayer, out of the gospel itself some days…
But you just can’t erase the gospel from our hearts.
…but you can’t take the gospel out of me.”
I was immensely blessed through college to have a few close friends whose stories resembled mine at some point along the way: my kid-of-divorce friends have understood my family’s recent fracture, my InterVarsity-leadership friends have understood something of the crazy life that is (even part-time, unpaid) ministry, and I even got to witness Betsey’s moment-of-truth when she first changed Facebook to “liberal,” only a few months after my own emotional political conversion. I like having friends from other walks of life. But I appreciate sharing these things with my friends.
Today I learned that rather than two potential UNC grad seminary friends next year, I may have three (not all at my school–but around). More interestingly, the latter two are going to seminary largely for reasons like my own. We’ve had our share of personal issues between us and God, and the academic questions that intrigue us don’t always help.
Sometimes when I think about my being at seminary I feel I was made for this. That’s not to say I love every minute of it, but rather, go figure I’m here. I mean, I was the one that started reading books about women in ministry in high school because things in the youth group got frustrating (not to mention, boring). The academic side of faith has always been important to me on a more personal/relational level with God.
At other moments, I am amazed that I’m here, not so much because I wouldn’t be here, but I don’t think most people would. This isn’t to lift myself up in any way–I just don’t know that many people with big questions who try to insulate themselves within evangelicalism, or Christianity as a whole, for that matter. The logical thing to do right now, in some ways, would be to pull back. If you’re not sure about a person, you usually retreat from a relationship, right? What good will the time and money spent on a degree like this do for us if we end up not teaching or doing ministry (if we find the wrong answers…)?
But the three of us are doing what we’re doing.
to be continued…