Morning Reflections – 2 Timothy 2:14-15

I'll never forget my first week of seminary. Coming from a church
environment where worship was upbeat and lively, the worship life on
the campus seemed to be lacking any kind of passion. I knew going in
that things would be different than what I was used to, but I thought
that if i involved myself in the planning of worship I might have some
influence in livening things up a bit. So I volunteered to be part of
the campus "worship" committee. It turns out I was pretty naive about
what I had gotten myself into. Along with a few other students who had
similar interests we organized a small worship gathering one evening a
week so I thought it would be appropriate to share this exciting
opportunity with the "worship" committee at our first meeting. It turns
out that the people in charge of the committee were not very happy
about our little gathering, but they were especially unhappy that we
were calling it "worship". The next 45 minutes were spent debating on
the proper use of the word "worship" in our campus community and
ultimately it was determined that we could not be prevented from
gathering, but that we were forbidden to call our gathering "worship"
because it was not sanctioned by the president and the dean of the
chapel. This was my first week… followed by four years of quarreling
about words… living in a community where the greatest story ever told
was picked apart and challenged (which is not a bad thing in itself)
but most times at the end of the day it felt like the greatest story
ever told had been sanitized for our protection and that the person who
is the main character of the story (Jesus… the person who had
changed my life… the one who I had committed my life to follow… the
one who I knew) was no longer acceptable by the standards of those who
had authority over the words we were instructed to use in talking about
him. Often times I listened, and it nearly ruined me… just as Paul
warns Timothy.

It's been a year now since I left that environment and at times I still
struggle to find the heart and passion I once had… I'm still
recovering from living in an environment where it seemed the quarrel over words
was more important than the Word (Jesus) himself.

It's important to discover ways to talk about God… to find ways to
effectively articulate what we believe. The fancy church word for that
is "theology". That being said, I pray that my "theology" is always shaped by
what I know of Jesus through what is revealed in the Bible and by the way I know him to be through my relationship with him, not the other way
around. Protect me, Jesus from "theology" that tries makes you into who I
or others want you to be instead of who you really are. Help me to know the real you… help me to not just be
another voice "quarreling about words."

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