Theology From Old Bibles

Shortly before mom died, we had to sell her house in order to pay for her continuing medical and living expenses.  For that to happen, I needed to clean it out.  To say it was a daunting task would be an understatement.  You see, Mom was a hoarder.  I spent two days combing through 20-year-old church bulletins and grocery ads from 1998 trying to find important stuff like financial documents, pictures, and the like.  I wish I would have had about a month to go through everything because I know that we threw out a bunch of stuff that I would have liked to keep.  I did manage to find three of her Bibles and have recently gone through those reading her notes. Continue reading

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Burlap Jesus

I’ve been a Christian for a long time.  Long enough to see items in Christian bookstores go through their cheesy phase.  Testamints, anyone?  Remember, it’s not just a mint, it’s a mint with a message.  I worked in a Christian bookstore in the mid-90s and one of the trends was to take t-shirt slogans and put a Christian spin on them.  Budweiser became Bloodwiser.  Gold’s Gym became The Lord’s Gym.  They were so prevalent and so horrible, they turned me off of Christian t-shirts forever.  Forever.  During my most recent stint in a Christian bookstore, I discovered they hadn’t gotten any better.  Now there’s one for sale that has the outline of Darth Vader and underneath it reads “I am not your father. God is your father.”  Nope. Continue reading

Who is the Clumsy Pilgrim?

I have been a Christian since I was five and have been in church all of my life.  I thought I knew a lot about God, the Bible, and everything that goes with it until I entered seminary in August 2015.  I quickly realized that, just like Jon Snow, I knew nothing.  Well, not exactly nothing, but pretty close to it.  I found myself sitting in the company of severe doubt almost immediately.  I did a good job of not panicking, telling myself over and over again that everything I was feeling was completely normal.  My fellow students were helpful in reassuring me that this was the case.

I am currently in my third semester of seminary and still don’t have it all figured out.  Honestly, I don’t think I have anything figured out.  And I’ve made peace with that.  It’s ok to not have all of the answers.  Let me repeat that.  IT’S OK TO NOT HAVE ALL OF THE ANSWERS.  In fact, I’m convinced that I will leave this earth without having all of the answers.  One of the main reasons for this is that I’ve realized God is so far above me that my puny, human brain could never understand all that there is to understand about God.

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about that before.  I hadn’t until I read a work called The Mystical Theology by Pseudo-Dionysius.  It’s from around the 5th or 6th century and although it’s a difficult reading to be sure, it’s one that had a great impact on me.  the author suggests that in order to truly know God, we must leave behind everything we know or feel because God is beyond everything that can be known or felt.  In other words, we can never truly understand the goodness of God because he is – yes I did write this in an essay for an exam – gooder than our goodest good will ever be.  Let that sink in for a moment.  We talk about the goodness of God all of the time.  “God is good – All the Time – All the Time – God is Good.”  Did you ever stop to think that our view of God will continually be lacking because we are fallen humans?  I’m not saying that what we say about God is always wrong.  I’m just saying that there will always be more to God than what we understand.  If this doesn’t overwhelm you, you’re a stronger person than I am.

And that’s just a little of what this blog is about.  It’s about theology.  Please don’t get scared off by that word.  Theology is Greek for “talk about God.”  Do you talk about God?  Then you’re a theologian.  It’s not just for those with PhDs, but it’s for you and me, too.  It’s also about life.  I don’t know if you know this, but life is messy.  Since March 2015, I’ve lost my husband to suicide and my mom to illness.  I’ve been the spouse of an alcoholic.  I’ve hurt others and been hurt deeply.  I want to start the conversation about the messiness of life so that you and I don’t have to suffer this mess in silence.

Journey with me as I struggle with life and theology while making mistakes along the way.  I am The Clumsy Pilgrim.