I learned an odd lesson as a college student. (I started out as a Religion Major and switched over to an English Major.) It was about checking sources. Generally, in very official-type papers where you want to make an argument to convince people of your point, you quote a well-respected source. Now, depending on what crowd you are catering to, you will—of course—choose a certain type of source.
The goal is persuasion.
Now, who decided which sources were well-respected and which sources were not? Far from riding on who the experts actually were, I discovered that this primarily hinged on who the actual experts were thought to be by a select group of choice members of the academia. It was curiously political. Very “who-knows-who.”
Sometimes this could be helpful. They set certain quality standards like “use correct grammar and punctuation” and “don’t use Wikipedia because anyone can put something on there.” For that, I am quite thankful. Good job!
The rest of time it could be a little irritating. I don’t like when people talk out of both sides of their mouths—simultaneously claiming Christ and knocking the Bible. This is usually accompanied by intimidation tactics and comments designed to make anyone who disagrees feel like an absolute unintellectual dunce. Look, I love some good hermeneutics. I love some good exegesis. That’s all good and well, but I’m not into cultural Christianity with its impeccable church attendance and closet atheism. There persecuted people out there dying for their faith. Quit the bs.
It’s like watching an incredibly macabre dissection of a heart. When one is in love—and I mean head-over-heels-all-in, there is this little thing called trust. You are not combing through your love letters trying to find proof that “he must be cheating.” Call it what you want, that is not love; that is paranoia. Who you trust is up to you. Trust isn’t earned; it is given.
There are a lot of people with a lot opinions out there, and some even have titles to go with them! When you grow up with little to no sense of identity, sometimes you can be tricked into thinking that these titles matter, of their own right. You want to get your own, so you jump through all those hoops . . . so that you matter. Because human opinion is a big deal, right? Because I couldn’t be that dearly loved by the God of the Universe, right? Because He couldn’t be that good . . . right???
Maybe not for the guy out his mind dancing naked before the Ark of the Covenant. Man, that dude was in love with God to the point that he didn’t even care what his wife thought. Because if this is real and I’m in love, who really cares what anyone else has to say about it? I will dance. Like. A. Freakin’. Madman. King David went through his ups and downs and questions with God. You can read about it in the psalms. But he allowed his questions to serve his relationship instead of making his relationship serve his questions. He bared his heart to lay it all on the table before the One he loved.
Sometimes Western culture forgets about this little thing called the “spirit realm.” It can be quite chatty, and it contains some spirits with some real agendas. Some are super kind and want to release love and encouragement and all sorts of heavenly things. Others are a bit pirate-esque: pillage, plunder, rape and kill. Many times this realm communicates through what we commonly refer to as “thoughts” and “feelings.” So . . . maybe if you’ve been hit with random suicidal thoughts lately, guys, it isn’t you! Congrats. You’re not crazy. Tell that thing to take a hike! You only empower cranky spirits when you believe them.
Oh, and by the way . . . if you were wanting to get to know Jesus Christ, the Beloved Begotten of Daddy God . . . that’s totally doable. You don’t have to be scared of what people think. Consider this one of many of God’s invitations to a never-ending, very-much-hug-filled conversation.