Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Tale of Two Professors

When I was in bible college and seminary, I discovered there were two kinds of professors. One was certainly appointed, the other was obviously annointed and spiritually gifted. One put me to sleep and turned me off to the subject matter taught. The other ignited a flame in me as I sat in close promixity to the fire within him. One professor acted as if he mastered the text years ago at some ivy league university. The other, even after a lifetime of living with the text, seemed to still be in awe of the mystery of it. One only seemed to notice the fingerprints of humanity in the pages of scripture. The other continually showed me the finger of God in scripture. One professor critically picked away at every detail in the Bible. The other seemed to glory in the big picture in an almost childlike way. To this day, I struggle to get excited about a particular sections of the Bible taught by the first professor, while I regularly return to the passages taught by the second.

posted by Chris Criminger, an Indiana pastor and faithmapper.


Rick said...

I too have had similar struggles. My Harvard professors often seemed void of the Spirit. Often I placed my focus on what I perceived their beliefs to be, as if their beliefs should have bearing on my expereince of God.

I disovered, in my case, that my reaction to these professors was really about me and how I was challenged. I think we meet people where we are not where they are. My point is, I imagine many who now are interested in the Orthodox Church for example, would have been closed off in the past. Consider how many in the evangelical church are just now accepting Walter Brueggemann. He is retired! Many who now study him, would have considered him to be a heretic in the past. I am often embarrassed by some of my stances in the past. It is mostly about where I was than where my professors were.

We seem value surgeons from Ivy League schools; the doctors we want operating on our children. (We like the Harvard Business Review and Leadership books written by Harvard professors, or our money managers with MBA's from Harvard) When it comes to theology, many treat those from the Ivy League as if they have no faith or have it all wrong. We seem to hold those "doctors" who have degrees from "chiropractor" schools with higher regard than many "surgeons" from Ivy league.

We resist what we don't like. When someone challenges our belief system, we usually take offense.


Anonymous said...

"We resist what we don't like. When someone challenges our belief system, we usually take offense."
"First and foremost, no impatience...A direct attack only strengthens a person in his illusion, and at the same time embitters him. There is nothing that requires such a gentle handling as an illusion, if one wishes to dispel it. If anything prompts the prospective captive to set his will in opposition, all is lost...The indirect method..., loving and serving the truth, arranges everything..., and then shyly withdraws (for love is always shy), so as not to witness the admission which he makes to himself alone before God- that he lived hitherto in an illusion.” - Kierkegaard: The Point Of View of My Work As An Author, In the Modern tradition: Backgrounds of Modern Literature (1965)