Why this blog?
Do I really think I can share some theological truth that hasn’t been explored with more depth or presented with more eloquence over the past two thousand years? I don’t have a PHD. I’m not ordained. Unpublished. I don’t even have a denominational affiliation, not officially. What can I possibly contribute to the conversation?
Maybe I’m just trying to prove something. A superior intellect. A literary talent that comes along once in a generation. Hey, if I wanted to impress people, I could just post pictures of my twelve-pack.
Maybe I’m just bored.
No, this is not about filling time, or flexing intellectual muscles, or working my way toward the John Barnts Study Bible. This is a personal challenge, and a way to enjoy fellowship with other believers. More than that, it’s an experiment.
A few months ago I listened to an audio book called “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson. I knew Bryson as a travel writer, but had no idea that he was some kind of scientist. Come to find out, he’s not a scientist. He’s just a genius with words. And if there’s one subculture that needs help communicating with the general public, its the scientific community.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
By the early twentieth century it was known that atoms were made of parts—Thomson’s discovery of the electron had established that—but it wasn’t known how many parts there were or how they fit together or what shape they took. Some physicists thought that atoms might be cube-shaped, because cubes can be packed together so neatly without any wasted space. The more general view, however, was that an atom was more like a currant bun or a plum pudding—a dense, solid object that carried a positive charge but that was studded with negatively-charged electrons, like the currants in a currant bun.
Sometimes a reader is not confused for lack of intelligence, but for the writer’s lack of clarity or creativity. This has become my crusade. How can I communicate some of the more challenging and revolutionary concepts of theology in a way that is clear without dumbing things down or pandering to sentimentality?
I have been immersed in theology for as long as I can remember. My third grade Show and Tell was my Bible collection. I had three, each a different translation, each read from cover to cover. Call it strange. Call it obsessive. I distinctly remember sitting on the playground in elementary school reading through Jeremiah, then pulling it out again on the bus ride home. By the time I graduated high school, I had read the Bible about twenty times.
After years of leading Bible studies, teaching Bible classes in both high school and college, earning a Masters degree in Biblical Literature, spending a majority of my life rubbing shoulders with people of different denominations on different continents, and reading about a zillion books, I think I have enough theological balloons floating around in my brain to pop a few on the internet.
But I don’t want to just spew out thoughts and ideas. I want to learn how to take the most challenging topics and make them as clear as possible. I’m not talking about explaining the Trinity to teenagers with an ice cube and a heat lamp. I’m talking about being simple without being simplistic.
I also want to be challenged. If I’m writing heresy, speak up. If you want to expand the conversation, please do. This is how we grow.
Here’s how you can help:
- Let me know when something I write is confusing or seems overly clever or pretentious. I want to minimize distractions. I want the reading experience to be enjoyable and enlightening, like Bryson.
- Let me know what topics you think would be a good challenge for this experiment. I’m not opposed to addressing divisive issues like election or speaking in tongues or homosexuality, but I’m not trying to build fences. I have too many friends on both sides, and I like them all.
- Send money. Don’t ask me why, just do it. Right now. Lots of it.