The Answers Aren’t in the Back of the Book

It’s been a decent amount of time since I’ve written anything. I’ve finished my first year at SPU, lived in Indonesia for a month, made some Muslim friends, paid for rent and bought groceries for myself for the first time, worked my first 40 hour work week, slept on top of a mountain, and changed my future life/career plans a 1000+ times since the last time I blogged.

I can tell I’m at a point in life where I have one foot in the realm of youthful teenage shenanigans and one in the sphere of responsible young adult involvements. It’s as if they were two sheets of ice drifting in opposite directions. I can’t have all of both forever.

As I’ve been growing it seems like the world around me has been growing exponentially faster. I increase by one and the world increases by ten. I learned part of this from my time in Indonesia by meeting people who are so similar to me and of equivalent value in the heart of God, but live so differently and far away from me. This has made me a bit fearful. Fearful of speaking my mind because I’ve become somewhat aware of how ignorant and inexperienced I still am. As the continuous bombardment of “Why? How? What?” glides through the new things I learn and experience, I hear the internal response of “I don’t know”. I’m still trying to maneuver the line between humble & observant silence and a fearful paralysis. I was able to listen to a professor speak on the topic of theology. Basically he said that being a good theologian requires much humility because the object of study is God and to say that you’re an expert on God would be blasphemous and show that you were probably the exact opposite of an expert. I started my pursuit of theology with very little humility.

Something about going to school to study the Bible, God, the Church and faith that has been somewhat challenging is that my homework and grades overlap with my passions, worldview, and community. Having something as sharp as a scholar’s mind in the same material that surrounds a soft heart can occasionally produce difficulties. It’s a curious feeling going from a classroom of peers that  excitedly analyze and critique theological concepts, to the rest of life (which is very theological as well) where the same excited analysis and critique is sometimes met with hostility, irritation, confusion, or boredom. A professor I had said she wished someone would have told her how going to seminary would change a person’s church experience for the rest of their life. I’m not at that level yet, but it still would have been a nice heads up to know that college could potentially change the way a person experiences life for the rest of their life.

As I’ve sorted through the millions of different life plans/career pathways, I’ve been asking myself what I want. The abstract philosophical questions that a lot of people poke fun at sometimes are things that actually make me wonder. What is the meaning of life and what is the good? As I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m going to do after I graduate this Spring, those questions have been crossing my mind in one form or another. Making money doesn’t seem worth much since it’s really not that hard if you really want it and it only serves the purpose of getting you other things. Physical pleasure seems too empty and shallow. Friends and family are kind of neat, but we humans are way too inconsistent and fickle  to revolve an entire life around pleasing/enjoying. Helping people/saving the world is a pretty noble thing, but if the entire purpose of a life is to make another life better that seems a little circular and contradictory. Pursuit of God is one that I’m sure a lot of people hold to as the purpose of life and the ultimate good, but that is definitely not a simple one. Maybe that’s what makes it worthy of a life time. I don’t fear failing in my life, I fear succeeding immensely and looking back to see that it was all a great waste. Trying to simultaneously complete homework, have friends, stay alive, work, somewhat plan my future and attempting to grasp who God is has been an interesting task to say the least. I suppose I have a slight advantage because the first and last one over lap a little bit. As for now the only definitive answer I’ve come up with is that I don’t know.