Wednesday, July 19, 2006

High Degree But Cold as Ice

When did this happen?

I've met too many seminary-trained people who don't believe in God, let alone the theology they espouse. Doesn't anybody care? People still see these guys as especially close to God, because of their training and position. Yet, they don't believe.

Since when did a degree in Bible or Theology mean that a person is to be considered close to God? I know not everyone who pursues a degree in some Christian endeavor is doing so to be perceived as being especially close to God. But in our culture, it has become more and more difficult to tell the difference. In fact, the general public normally see those who graduate from some seminary as having a special authority.

Again, I am not criticizing those who pursue degrees in Christian thought. I am just beginning to find it odd that it has become a pass to maturity. Yes, it is natural to expect leaders to be trained in the ways of Christ, and in how to think about the Christian faith. But sometimes in the Christian community we expect people to be trained in a manner that is no different than the world.

What I mean is that Christian degrees are often seen more as an entryway into employment, success, and popularity doing Christian stuff. (Get it all, plus God!) There are those who are proud of being called "Father" everywhere they go. They love the most important seats, and the honor that is obviously due them.

Conversely, churches receive resumes from these people with varying levels of skill, training, and degrees. And to some extent, I suppose that it is necessary, given we often don't know who we are hiring. (Do we really hire ministers?) But think about it. People typically assume that those who pursue degrees in Christian thought are close to God — not just trained in some way. Does that strike you as odd? It does to me.

When did this begin to be the norm?

Are men who are led by the Spirit to become janitors, or computer tech support people not as close to God as someone pursuing a degree in theology? Is a stay-at-home mom spiritual? Is the person who pursues a degree in mathematics qualified to lead others in the Christian faith? Is being a good single-father less noble than preaching sermons or writing (yet another) book?

I know everyone who reads this thinks that this issue is not important. After all, everyone serves in different ways and God is the God of all. But what is our practical attitude? Is this issue more important to God than to us?

Monday, July 17, 2006

How Our Worldview Affects Everyday Life: Part 2

So, how does our worldview affect us on a daily basis? What happens when our worldview clashes with reality?

Let's say we have a concern about war and general upheaval in the world. How would we approach the problem? (And it has little to do with what we believe about war.) It depends on what we believe about the nature of the problem. Do we have a role at all? Is the problem someone else's responsibility? How does it fit our worldview?

If we approach this dilemma by saying that the primary problem is man's inability to get along with others, then we might conclude that solving these problems is hopeless, because it is our nature to be combative. This even includes people who don't like it to be that way. (Contradiction.) Therefore, the duty of man is to fight for his own survival.

But many of us understand that the natural outcome of this viewpoint is not preferable to our comfortable lifestyles. (Reality.) The situation still seems intolerable. Then our beliefs can either lead to throwing up our hands and letting things go on as usual, or working to bring peace into the world by associating man's need for survival with the succession of hostilities. "If we can only bring peace, man can survive."

How This Worldview Works

In the beginning there was eternal nature. All that exists came from a self-existent, universal, natural matter. Man's existence into this eternal presence was a product of this eternal matter or nature. But man is, by nature, at war with nature. (Contradiction.) He must be this way in order to survive. But this very desire has a consequence: it affects man's very existence itself. So man must rise above his nature in order to bring about a new era of peaceful coexistence with eternal nature. (Utopia or Paradise.)

How does man do this? (Enter in all sorts of theories and philosophies describing how we rise above ourselves.) All solutions to this dilemma are attempting to do everything possible to ensure that man is happy and fulfilled in this life, so that he will not see the need to war. We care for the environment. We demand, through force, peace. We see that power resides in the masses, instead of the few. We create governmental and economic structures to ensure that no one need not envy another's wealth. We must make everyone happy.

But then reality hits again. Some people are not satisfied, no matter what you give them. They have their own worldview solutions. They believe that in order to survive, there needs to be a certain number of people on the earth, and that they all should look like them. So, they make war to ensure that this happens. It is survival of the fittest, and they are fit to survive. So there is conflict. What is the solution? Try harder.