7.1.09

Back to college for Christology...

'What's that then ... the study of crystals?' said my husband to me on the phone during a break between lecturers and I laughed. But as I laughed I must admit I wondered if I also heard God laughing, not in a mocking way, God wouldn't have that in his nature but in a kind of ... what are they all doing?...kind of a way. We had teaching on all these concepts and heresies and practices and thinking of the early churches and early church fathers and I couldn't help but wonder why we do it? I know we are being taught all the time that we will never understand or fathom God - I'm comfortable with that, but we still all feel under a lot of pressure sometimes to learn a lot of jargon.

In Feb I will sit an exam on 'The person of Christ' and it all just feels a bit weird. I feel very out of my depth and that there is such a lot that I don't know - but then on the other hand I keep thinking how weird all this theorising would sound to a lot of Christians who are actually out there on the streets of foreign cities, feeding the hungry and counseling the broken. In the middle of one of my lectures today I just wanted to run home and to church where I encounter the living God...I just didn't want to be in that classroom learning about Athanasius, Ignatius, Chalcedon...Nicea isn't so bad - I think I know things about that...but wow - I need to read soooo many books and when you're thinking of cutting down on the other pasts of your life which are about people, community and sharing bible stories with youth, under 5s etc so that you can read more books about Iraneus or whatever he's called, something's not quite right is it?

Ah theological college student having slight inferiority 'I'm not clever enough' for all this' complex crisis! Get me out of here! No, I want to stay, really, it will get better - yiex - talking to myself now - sign of madness?! HEEELLLPPPPP!

4 comments:

DaveW said...

I struggled too although my course did not use exams but essays (I would have preferred exams).

Yeah the jargon is often a pain but in places it does become useful when used properly as it does have more specific meanings and so can help an informed discussion. But in the long term it seems to me that we need more theologians who can talk to non specialists.

Personally I have come to love doing theology with members of the church. On Tuesday we were delving deep into the Trinity. To what extent do we understand the Trinity as community and what does that mean for our lives.

I am finding that things come up naturally. We look at John 14-16 and ask what this means about the trinity. In the discussion it can be helpful to connect our thoughts to the past eg that was the sort of thing Augustine thought or go to the creeds and see how the church wrestled with these things and then see how more recently Barth took the debate onwards ...

Personally looking at my own past I don't think I was challenged enough and early enough to actually think about my faith, my tradition, my understanding of God. Lack of thought can lead to all kinds of rubbish and a very immature faith.

I agree that time is the big problem. All these things can be related to "real" life, illuminate it and make it more exciting and liberating but it is finding processing time that is so difficult.

My home church had morning prayers before opening the coffee shop for the day. I used to go and after would have a discussion with my minister about the bit that were troubling me, in fact we would all sit round the table and have a discussion about what I had been studying. It meant it stayed real and related to ordinary people for me.

As for the inferiority complex - I think most of us get that at times. My impression from your writing is that you are at an appropriate level of madness and are quite clever enough. But time is the real challenge and that won't change - lucky you are able to describe yourself as efficient cos that is going to be very useful.

Jane said...

Stick with it. I found the first year of training for the ministry very difficult ... somehwere along the line the pieces will begin to fall into place.

Rachel said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Dave, Much needed. Feeling better today, I've nearly finished an essay on the Church and sexual ethics (homosexuality) and was thrilled when Melvin Tinker sent me a chapter of his book Alien Nation to read - I like his style - not too full of jargon.

I know our status with God doesn't change but my own feelings about myself fluctuate considerably.

I partly went to college so that I could get to grips with the women's ordination and homosexuality debates and these are what I've been able to work through first - it's great.

With the christology, I'm hoping to look at ideas of subordinationism in the trinity - another pet interest of mine.

God bless
Rach

Rachel said...

Thanks Jane - I will X

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