It's a new passion. The class with Schmutzer has been phenomenal. The learning curve is high and, as he told me this morning, is intended to push and challenge. My foundations have definitely been rattled. I was very honest with him about where I am and what I am feeling--overwhelmed but deeply excited; full of joy but with enough "terror" to keep me sober. My eyes have been opened to a lot of "new" things through this class. I find myself asking "why don't I see this being taught from the pulpits and not just in academia?" He mentioned that I probably find myself asking why I was never taught the Bible this way. As I heard him say it my inner self screamed "that's an understatement!" I asked him what I ought to "do" now. I wrestle to respond well because I so desire a transformation that affects everyday life. He told me, basically, to hang tight till the end of the semester, as the course is heading in the direction of pastoral and practical application for the "life after" these 16 weeks. I always appreciate talking with him.
I also inquired about my next paper. We have to write a "contemporary theological address" on a topic of our choosing. I asked him how I could somehow incorporate the immanence of God--since its a topic our circles don't address, unless to warn against forms of pantheism or pagan religious thought. But how do we wrestle with the reality that God IS 1. transcendent but ALSO 2. immanent (in our midst; living among us). So anyway, I think I'm going to write something to the effect of: "Immanent Hiddenness: God's Presence in Suffering." We'll see how it hashes out. I want to invests a lot of time into this project. I went to the library and made some copies from Brueggemann's books. He says things so well. I don't agree with everything and am sure, as I read more, I will find more I do not hold. But all in all I appreciate his fresh and provocative use of language--that ultimately and rightly seeks to point the seeker to God. He unveils the glory of God in some really profound ways. I am anxious to do some of the reading and research for it...
Read a phenomenal chapter last night in Waltke's Old Testament Biblical Theology on Liturgy. It was so rich; so inspiring; so motivating; so NEW. I love that I am hot with wonder once I've read these pieces about Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Exodus. The books that everyone always shies away from. The books that are "boring" and so we are taught, from a young age, to skip over them. The books that form the foundation of God's covenant love for (and with) Israel. AH! As the riches of these stories are uncovered, I find myself wanting, thirsting for more. I told Schmutzer, "I leave your class wanting to go away and study MORE to learn MORE to discover MORE. How can I be a life-long student of the Bible while excepting the reality that I will not be a Biblical theologian" (in the most formal sense)? He recommended I invest in a few good books... I've added them to my list.
There's so much brewing in my soul these days. I feel that I am living, more than at any other time in my faith, in a very broken reality. I am broken in myself, broken over the state of the church, broken over the world. Ultimately, I am broken to God...and I find that this makes my days lived in a funny awareness of Him. I say funny because it isn't comfortable or easy. It is the sort of existence that is joy and sorrow; light and shadows; beauty and horror.
Today every time I went outside I couldn't stop smiling. It seems the trees have reached a new height of color. The reds and oranges are deep. It is as if the air itself is vibrant. I collected a handful of the best :) Something about the changing of the seasons feels like the world is trying to whisper something to the passerby. I can never quite catch it but it is mysterious and beautiful and I am blessed to be alive and grateful for the gift of enjoying such a spectacular world. Praise you, Lord, that you are redeeming this place and these people. The world is caught in curse, lagging behind the beauty of heaven. So we pray: THY WILL BE DONE, on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
We love you, though poorly, our faithful Lord.