Saturday, August 23, 2008

Authority

"...do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." -Matthew 10:19b-20

I am not a theologian. The closest thing I have to a divinity degree is three Bible classes at a Christian college. I did not go to seminary, nor do I have any immediate interest in doing so. I did not set out to work in full time ministry, and sometimes I still wonder what I'm doing here. I only say things that are worthy or valid because God gives them to me.

Two years ago, on the way home from a youth conference, I really felt that God spoke to me when I asked why I was able to speak truth into people's lives, and He said, "Because I've created you that way; I created you to reveal my Words to other people." Since then, I've been trying to live my life with that perspective. Sometimes I forget, but I try to remind myself not to forgot that purpose that was so clearly spoken to me.

Last night I went to a gathering of middle school girls to watch a movie and eat pizza. It was one of my first meetings with some of my new small group for the year. It was a lot of fun, and we watched a really cute (not an Academy Award winner or anything, but cute) movie called Saving Sarah Cain. Before we started the movie, the mom hosting the gathering said, "I'll be interested to hear your theological take on the movie, because I felt like it was saying that in order to be 'saved,' you have to be Amish."

Now, I'm not making a point about the movie (though I didn't get that message from it at all). I was kind of taken aback that a mother was asking for my theological perspective. I'M A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER. What authority do I have to give my "theological perspective" on anything? Because I am employed by the church, it's assumed that I know what I'm talking about.

That scares me a little bit, and maybe it should. Maybe that way I won't lose perspective of whose "theological perspective" is really the most important. Maybe I won't forget that my main purpose to reveal God's Words - not mine. But I have to laugh and cringe at the same time. Clearly [insert sarcasm here] working in the church makes me qualified to give such opinions.

Authority is an awesome responsibility, and I just pray that I will always listen for God's perspective, and never give my own. That seems to be working pretty well so far, so I'll run with it!

2 comments:

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You're not a theologian, good...neither was C.S. Lewis or Karl Barth...neither of them have degrees in theology (or even earned doctorates, for that matter) , although Barth did go to Seminary (He has a degree in how to deconstruction the New Testament) and yet they are probably the most influential theologians of the 20th century. Sure they are not always the most orthodox, but they always looked first and foremost to God's word to guide them and lead them in discerning their beliefs about God, man, culture and the world around them. Don't worry Katie about being a theologian. It is really overrated. All you need to do is know the Bible. Love God, follow Christ and be led by the Spirit. Also learn to ask good questions like Paul and tell stories to make a point like Jesus. And then you will be a far better theologian than most trained in the ivory towers of universities and seminaries.

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