Reading some things earlier in the week made me reflect back in time just a few short years ago before I came to seminary and how much my life has changed during these last six years. I can remember back when I used to think that loud preaching was really cool, but now I realize that it is mostly empty. I can remember when I used to think that the larger the church, the more spiritual they are, but now I realize that spirituality is not based on numbers. I can remember when I used to think that the King James Only issue was of paramount importance, but now I realize it is nothing more than divisiveness and a distraction tactic by those who are more zealous regarding this issue.
I was a part of what some would term “extreme Fundamentalism” for many years because it was all that I knew. My point is not to impune or attack any individual, church or educational institution. I realize that there are good people within this wing of fundamentalism that are like I was, they do not realize that there is another part of fundamentalism that is not considered to be extreme.
I can remember thinking that what is termed pragmatism was ok, now I realize that pragmatism has definite dangers in and of itself.
I am far from being a legalist, but I have to scratch my head and wonder why anyone who claims to be a Christian would listen to U2 or Van Morrison or Sinead O’Connor. Will people be attempting to make the music from these groups or individuals part of worship? Or will they claim that is part of their private life?
I look back to what I was and where I was and have often thought what would have happened, if I had not left the familiar and the mundane and most of all what was comfortable back in 2002 to take a journey to seminary. Seminary has been a great experience for me. It has caused to me take a hard look at what I believe and why I believe it, to reject ideas and beliefs that I held for years merely for the sake of tradition, etc. Realizing that there is a bigger world than the narrow one created by those who hold to extremely narrow and sometimes indefensible theological positions which are nothing more than parroting what someone else said.
One of the most important things that I have learned has been to let the Biblical text speak for itself by doing responsible work in the areas of hermeneutics and exegesis, rather than attempting to impose an idea on a text that is not there.
I am not sure if what I am saying is making sense to anyone else, but typing it out helps me to appreciate where I have been and where I am headed and the journey that I have taken to get to this point. I am glad that I am not the same person that I was 20 years ago when I was first converted. I am glad that God has worked in my life to get me to this point where I am now. Not that I have arrived, but at least I can look back and see that there has been a definite change in a lot of areas of my life since 2002.