(Note: I wrote this over four years before we became Catholic. I love that the Catholic Church is full of saints of all backgrounds and levels of education, which is how it should be. I am free to study and learn to my heart's content, and no one finds this odd. I am happy indeed.)
This morning over breakfast my husband and I discussed the sad belief that any intellectual discussion of God shows a lack of faith or love.
Christianity is something that is so simple that children can grasp it but is so complex that theology is still a thriving pursuit of study. Anyone in any social stratus can have their eyes opened and see; there is no one outside of God's grasp. Sometimes the great-grandmother who has only ever heard the Bible preached because she never learned to read has more insights into the heart of God than the geniuses who sit in their ivory towers.
I think the best intellectual pursuits of God are those that are grounded in Scripture and humility and, yes, love. (We should never lose sight of our need to love.) I don't like it when Christians cluck their tongues at someone because they are analyzing Scripture and its ramifications, reasonings, and limits of application. I also don't like it when Christians mock those who stick with basics, are happy with the basics, and couldn't imagine why we should think about the implications of those basics.
I confess I tend to get more frustrated when Christians don't want to think. Our heritage is rich, and I believe theology can help us move forward as a Body as we navigate our culture. I believe Christians have fallen for all kinds of traps because they don't want to read or think. Pride is a sin whether it's pride in a pile of books or pride in a lack of them. Being teachable is not a virtue limited to children.
However, I have to ask what is enough? Christianity is beyond my suburban neighborhood where most homeowners have a college education. Christianity is for the bum on the street, the prostitute who has never owned a book, and the starving people on continents far more impoverished and oppressed than ours.
If I read my Bible and think about it, I have to say it's enough to believe. We are each responsible to follow the Lord to the best of our abilities, according to the grace He has given us. We are fallen and sinners, and intellectual pursuits won't save us. Only Jesus saves.
But in a land abundant with freedom of speech and religion I would hope that Christians would embrace these gifts that are given to us at great cost and study their Bibles, worship God faithfully in the community of other believers (we do need each other), obey the Lord even "when no one is watching," and search out how to apply the Faith in everyday living.
©2011-2016 Emily Woodham