Scot McKnight, who has the blog Jesus Creed, wrote an excellent post called “A Little Exercise for Young Theologians“, referencing a book by the same title. I believe his thoughts could be especially beneficial for those who are in a boat similar to mine. The wisdom in the following quote, takes me immediately to James 1:19, James 3: 1-2, and basically everything JR Miller modeled for/said to me in 2005-2006.
“Bloggers pastors or students or theologians, especially young ones, need to listen to the wisdom of this little word by Thielicke. Why? Let me begin with this: what you say on your blog is international, permanent, and universally accessible. It’s not that I think you need to hide your ideas; it is that some of your ideas are not wise to be aired in public. Keep them to your closer friends and give them time to dig roots. Some of them you may toss into the bucket before too long…
The passions of young pastors are important, as is their enthusiasm. But some passions and some enthusiasm go too far when you are young, and when you get older and wiser those passions will be moderated into lasting wisdom. To use Thielicke’s image, passions make the voice screechy.
You are working out your ideas and your theology — at least I hope you are. It is indeed disappointing to me when someone thinks they’ve mastered theology as a result of a class in seminary or after having read an author or two. Especially when they haven’t earned the ideas themselves but are simply borrowing someone else’s ideas; we call this 3d person theology. Theology takes a lifetime to engage responsibly and wisely. So, hold your ideas a bit more tentatively when you are young. You’ll grow into moderated, confident wisdom. That’s the best time to chat about theology.”
Leading a college bible study for 3 years now has really helped me to appreciate the growth process; some talk too much, some talk too little. I’m starting to see beauty in the midst of the ugliness of spiritual growth…I’m sure my past immaturity (at 21, 22, 23, & beyond) has somewhat impaired any present credibility at 25 & beyond.
It’s not that I’ve tried to be in the wrong, it’s just easy to be excited and clumsy when imitating those who imitate Christ. But, the more my love for God & scripture grows, the more grieved I am by the thought of me getting in His way. Yet, I’m not simply discouraged — I’m learning that 1) God redeems foolishness with His wisdom and 2) growth doesn’t come w/o pain.
Perhaps if I really have something to say, in a couple of years, if I continue to try to intentionally be slow(er) to speak/quick(er) to listen…a wise person would have reason to hear what I’m saying.
So here’s my advice when I look into a mirror, try to be more like a sponge than a megaphone.