Christian theology has four sources. They are scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. Even the order of the four sources matters. A difference between Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians is the order. Evangelicals in particular, but protestants in general, begin with scripture. The Catholics and Orthodox elevate tradition to an equal footing. But everyone–me, you, everyone–has to reconcile their own reason to include their own life experiences with their theology. (Yes, I’m implying that everyone has a theology even if they won’t admit it.)
Here’s where I’m struggling on an personal level after last semester’s experience. First, what does a Christian do with dumb people? Yeah, yeah, I get it. That’s not the charitable or gentle way to put it, but it works. And there are dumb people. I am talking about actually uneducated, ignorant, un-reflective, and just plain un or mis or ill-informed people. It seems hopeless. And on the other hand, in recognizing dumb people exist, I find great motivation to make sure and educate the shyat out of my daughter. Maybe she’ll reject Christianity along the way, but she is going to at least develop the ability to think so that some day she may possess the ability to draw the Christian conclusion.
Second, my ex-wife is not a believer. While I wasn’t either during the marriage, and while the doctrinal claims of religion weren’t even close to a sore-spot cause of the divorce, I just don’t think I would be divorced had I been married to at least a cultural Christian. It’s been three years, and one self-published pseudo memoir since the divorce. Yet during today’s exchange of the joint-child, I was once again overcome with such a palpable emotion of rage–a rage which has as its only appropriate expression utter and total stillness–that I immediately became ashamed. You there! Jesus loves you! You, over there! Accept Christ’s atoning sacrifice and be saved! Hey, you! Passerbyer! Join me in Christian brotherhood! But her? For all I care she can finish off this life ignorant, aimless, and full of unrealized potential before burning in what I hope is a literal fiery pit of hell for eternity. And the fact that I feel this way is not right. It’s just not right. But it’s how I feel or my experience, nonetheless.
The point is I have a sneaking suspicion you might relate to these two experiences. I have to believe that Christianity has some answers, but I don’t see them today. I share this because I am confident that I am in the process of a transformation. The main reason for my confidence is that I am terrified of the effort that I know it will take to change my perspective.
Anyhow, pray for me.