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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Master Mentor #24

Chapter 23 (Book 4, Chapter 1)
Here CS begins to tackle some of the issues of Theology as it relates to our relationship with God. But first, he makes the case for theology as being important. The argument that he made for the importance of thinking these things through is still true today.
Most people run in horror from the idea of Theology. They begin to get images in their heads of old guys sitting around a large table spread out with lots of books and assorted papers all of which are old and dusty and having a conversation that no one understands. But from what CS says… and I happen to agree… you can’t even bow your help to offer a simple prayer for a meal without having answered a few questions and in so participated in theology.
Recently, we have begun having theological questions as part of our youth ministry week. On Sunday mornings, we have a time in our program called “Coffeehouse.” Part of the function of Coffeehouse is to be a place for students to go and have conversation. Recently, we have begun to tackle some of the deeper theological questions like “Who do you think God is? What do you believe about Jesus? Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he do in our lives?” Then we open up the discussion to those who are present and allow them to have conversation. Most of their time is spent trying to “give me the right answer.” I keep telling them that I won’t tell them the right answers. But I guide them in the right direction. They need to arrive at the right answers through their own study of the Scriptures… which we are encouraging every week. Part of my hope is that they get so tired of questions that they begin to go looking for answers in the only place that they can truly be found: The Bible. For instance, a couple of weeks ago we talked about the Holy Spirit. Most of the answers to their questions can be started from the book of John. The hope that through encouragement, they would begin to investigate the questions and think about the answers before they are in a situation where the person asking the questions won’t be as helpful.
But as I read this chapter, in part I thought about Coffeehouse. CS says this, “Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones – bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas” (page. 137).
He’s right. There are a lot of people that have ideas about God. Ideas that are dead wrong. But we don’t know what the right ideas are because many of us have not taken the time to ask the questions, have the conversations and find the answers. Including many students. And then, as we have heard so often, they get to college where the big, bad professors are waiting to blow down their faith house. And in part, what we have heard is true. Which is why we need to have the conversations now.

Jim

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