A Sideline

It’s probably because my entire life these days is centered around reading about, talking about, writing about, theology and things related that I’m feeling an increasing struggle to focus on reading about, writing about, talking about theology and things related. Now, there’s lots of reasons for that, probably not least is the fact that I’m coming to the end of my third year of studies, and that’s a good time to start getting tired of most any kind of single subject. But, it’s not that I’m tired of it. I think the issue is that I’m curiously engaged with it.

It’s everywhere.

Which means my problem is basically opposite of most everyone else in society. I’m thinking too much about this religion, theology, and church stuff. Now before anyone trots out the usual anti-intellectual “you have to live it!!” suggestion, know that I don’t think of theology as being anything other than a reality that is only understood as much as it is lived. Anyone who knows me, I think, would say that I seek to see God’s work in my whole life. Indeed, probably my interest in theology comes from my quest to live it out. Living raises questions, after all, and if no one returns a call or an email, or hasn’t studied themselves, then if you want to find answers, you need to hunt them down yourself. That pretty much defines, I suppose, my whole quest in theology. I had deep, pressing questions and I couldn’t get a straight answer because my questions weren’t the stock sorts of questions that come in the spiritual queries variety pack. I’ve always had, I suppose, special order theological inquiry and for the most part that means waiting off to the side while someone goes to check the back, or so I think.

So, I’ve excelled at finding my own answers for questions. I don’t keep it all in reach, but I can pretty much find what I need to know when I need to know it. Only because I’ve made this pursuit something more than a hobby, and learning where to find answers isn’t exactly a cheap pursuit, it seems like I’ve gotten caught in a bit of a loop. I feel a little inclined to say I’m bored with it all, only that’s not it. I’m not bored with it all. It still gets me moving because I know how important it can be to have a renewed perspective on God, on identity, on purpose. I get to thinking that maybe I need a bit of a pastoral role again. I miss the conversations I helped lead way back in the early 2000s, I miss the creative bursts of expression. But that’s not really it either.

I think I miss a home. I’ve been in between a real home now for going on, well, most of my life. Everything has been in constant flux, with a varying degree of intense uncertainty. It’s been a wandering for up to two thirds of my life, and in a way I feel like I was among those born in the wilderness, as much of my journeying was in the company of my parents, whose wilderness experiences started before I came along. As Passover approaches, we commemorate the beginning of the Exodus, but I’m in a season where I’m ready to settle in the land, and I don’t care what the giants look like, because I want their grapes. That’s a problem though. Because, honestly, I feel like my life these days is a lot more like Moses when he was a shepherd. His burst of passion was exhausted in his youth, then he left the place of action, got married, and settled into a very anonymous sort of life.

I think too much about what is possible but I know that what is possible for me is only possible when and how God calls me, if or when he ever lights that bush on fire and tells me it’s time to say something important. I struggle now, I think, because I see all these words flying around, bursting from the seams of my being, demanding they be acknowledged and cataloged, but all the while I know, I sense with all my being, that I’m still waiting here on the sidelines, not sure if I’ll ever get the nod to enter the game for real. I think I feel the frustration of Rudy. I’ve studied and lived enough to know, however, that even though God may call when you’re young, he sometimes waits a really long time to show why.

See what I meant about too many analogies. Sometimes they get mixed up with the metaphors and just need to be aired out.

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