April 18, 2011

The Book I Didn't Want to Read

People often act surprised when I tell them I’ve never read Mere Christianity.  Maybe it’s because these days I pose as a seminary person—and all seminary people worth their salt should have read it, right?  Quite frankly, it was one of those books I always told people I’d “add to my list” (you know what that means) and then secretly hoped nobody would ask about again.

I mean, really.  The minute you start talking about the fundamentals of the Christian faith, you’re going to find disagreement, and if there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s theological bickering.  Tell your angels to go dance on the head of someone else’s pin—because I don’t want to hear about it.

Yes, I’m in the seminary.  God help me.  (Sigh.  He does.)

So, I started reading Mere Christianity over the weekend.  It’s actually pretty good so far.  Really, Jack could just talk all day, and I could listen, and even if I didn’t agree with him, it would still be well worth the intellectual journey. 

But even more than that, I feel as though I am surrounded by this ever-deepening sense that I am meant to be reading this particular book in this particular moment.  Is that weird?  Oh, I certainly think so.  Yet it feels…true…which is stillweird.

I don’t know.  Does anyone else out there ever wonder if maybe we’re meant to read certain books at certain times, as if to read them earlier or later would be fine but somehow not the impetus to arrive at a moment of destiny in which several internal roads are colliding into one overarching idea brought to a head by that particular book or writer?  Am I the only person who thinks about things like this?

As I finish my last real (non-thesis) class for my M.A., I find that I’m actually starting to care about New Testament theology.  I still think its Jewish roots are important—nay, essential—but after years of wandering in the wilderness called “I Just Don’t Know Anymore,” pieces of the faith (the “mere” components, as some would venture to call them) are finally beginning to make sense in the greater context.  I’m starting to see this crazy beast called “Christianity” a bit more objectively.  Historically.  Theologically.  Experientially, yes.  Myth included.  “Myth made fact,” some might say.  :)

And maybe that means it’s time.  Time for Mere Christianity.  Time to really start considering some of the things I never wanted to argue about before.

Time at least to find the “wings to fly,” rather than just “merely vans to beat the air.”

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