Paying for School

My ongoing adventures in life and the pursuit of more...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting Small

I'm still getting marks back (one today!) with only a few more left to come in.

One paper, reduced from 17 to 10 pages.
One book review.
One exam.

Waiting is the worst.

While I'm waiting I've started on the reading for the next module.  10 book, 10 critical reviews, 50 days or so left to get them done.  I'm enjoying the reading.  It's challenging and full of insights to ponder on.  It's the history that I'm getting the most out of even as it scrambles my brain.

There has been nothing like living in a "foreign" country to get some perspective on my homeland.  Having close friends who live overseas and the conversations we have brings another dimension to that perspective.  The travelling I've been privileged to have done to China, Trinidad & Tobago and other places has also enlarged my view of how life really works.  "Truth" has crumbled before my very eyes more than once as my real life experiences came into conflict with what I "knew" or had been taught was so.

Reading history has done much the same.  I would describe this experience the same way I would this fundraising I've been doing to fund my education: humbling.  It's fascinating to read about the confidence with which men of faith have staked their claims on "Truth" only to see that discovery or reform give way in 100 hundred years (or less!) to the next wave of discovery and reform.  Not unlike the "War to end all Wars", each reform perceived itself as the reform to end all reforms.

Sort of like our grade 12 graduation pictures that hang in high school hallways to remind us that no matter what we believe, we are not - after all - the pinnacle of fashion and cool.  Haircuts, eyeglasses, clothing - we smile or we frown, frozen in time, a testimony that "this too shall pass".

I've been doing a series of talks for December at Church that I get the impression has ruined Christmas for some people.  "I'll never look at Christmas the same way again..." is the way they're kindly saying it.  I started a fight between one couple when I told one of them the wise men played no part in the Christmas story, which was repeated to their spouse and a theological war broke out.  (ooops, sorry, should have said, "spoilers".)

This reading of history, the Church's and Israel's, is growing humility in me.  Humbling me to speak very carefully about my own convictions and less absolutely about the rightness or wrongness of the convictions of others.  I'm learning that finding the good is more valuable than finding the bad in other's arguments and positions - but affirming the good doesn't require me to cover up the bad.  I'm learning that the real satisfaction is not in receiving a gift but in unpacking the box.

...and I still have a lot to learn.

If you'd like to help me keep learning you can click the "donate" button over there ===> OR contact SSU with the information over there ===>.  Big thanks to Jeff & Patty and Jeff & Natasha for recent gifts of extravagant grace!

“And it is the Lord, it is Jesus, Who is my judge. Therefore I will try always to think leniently of others, that He may judge me leniently, or rather not at all, since He says: "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.” ― St. Thérèse de Lisieux, Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux


  1. Interesting that most people of faith who think they know the Bible have their eyes opened time and time again when they begin to learn about the history around the times when things in the Bible were written. Its a huge revelation to most from our culture when we see the perspective of other cultures on the Bible and Christianity. Knowing the history of what was happening at the time things were written in the Bible is key to understanding the meaning of that book. The interesting thing is that although many pastors are required to study the historical side of Biblical writings, they rarely teach their parishioners these things. In my opinion, this perpetuates Biblical illiteracy which is the largest single danger to Christianity today. Again, my $.02.

  2. a valuable .02 indeed. Better conversion rate on your pennies here than at the bank!

    I also think that the gap between what we've read and learned and what we preach and teach is an ever widening gap. Even back in my Bible College days I learned there were certain "truths" we didn't say out loud or apply in certain company because it could harm the school's donor base.