let’s call this a quest.

February 5, 2013

Reading back over the strewn documents of my thought processes as to how I came to make this decision, to turn this year to study, this year for this kind of study- and really, so much of the nitty-gritty undoing of knots in my living really happens inside my head. I have an active, if somewhat chaotic, mental life. It’s like my skull is actually the bone-faced housing for a giant mission control room with screens and desks boiling with wires and strewn papers, clicking gently through the day complete with analysts, damage-control squads, researchers and a team of keen-eyed round-the-clock investigators. There are probably also couches with a kettle and plentiful bookshelves because even in my head there will be breaktimes involving tea.

So. Here. I wrote this last year, in the thick of my decision-making.


“I am not looking for certainties. am I? I am looking for a place to explore my doubts and come to more conclusions. to ask more questions and to be offered answers, but not as if they were mandatory. I am looking for a way-out-of-stuckness. I am looking for more options and this is a place I know to run to. I am looking to understand and to see and to know more about this God, who I have many reservations about, who I am not entirely certain about, who I don’t know enough about. I want to know more about this God so I can make more of my mind up.

is that it? perhaps. a lot of it. some of it.
I know I seek to question and be clear, as if clarity were a sword or a knife to cut keenly through the mess. I want to cut through the unclarity of Christian language, and the automatic assumptions in both language and in our heads that by and large we use automatically and clutch around ourselves like familiar, unthought-of shields.


Why do I want to study? I want to study because I have very few other options left and I am running to one of the few places I know that may keep me safe. I am retreating in the oldest form of the word retreat; to pull back as an army does from a field of battle where the enemy is winning. I am retreating to one of the few safe places I know: the army, the enclave, the unfolding enfolding of God.

I want to be able to listen seriously and clearly and think seriously and clearly about what I believe and why I believe it. if God is the foundation of my life, and as a Christian, God must be- I know far too little about him. I want to know God. I want to know more about God. I want to spend an intensive year, next year, meditating on and contemplating and thinking deeply and critically, and coming to know God better. Familiarising myself with the bible, the ostensible Word of God. Getting a new understanding of God. I want to know who this God is and I want to be in a place where I can do so with full concentration, with less distraction, with intention.

I want a foundation. I know very little about God and his character and his nature, and I trust very little, although a lot of me trusts in ways I don’t understand. I don’t know who God is. I find it hard to find out, myself, who God is. I want to be part of something that will show me more, that will help me understand, that is dedicated to helping me search out and understand more about the nature of this God. That is why I want to study. I am aware that the process of knowing God is one that lasts a lifetime, and perhaps eternity. But I have to start somewhere.

is that all? is that everything?
so then. where will best help me do these things? what will best help me to know who God is, his character and nature? what will best help me to learn about God from a wide range of sources, examining him and the church and the nature and formation and stories and traditions of Jesus from a wide range of sources and ideas?

I think I went to theological study as the obvious. are there less obvious ways?”


like all the things I write, here and elsewhere, it is only a small bit of what the dudes at the desks in my head have churned out. I guess that’s one reason I love how a metaphor can embrace the complexity and ambiguous nature of an idea more completely than a thorough explanation ever will, although thorough explanations do help with processing. they narrow things down, streamline things out.

also, if you haven’t noticed: I’ve been thinking a lot better ever since I made this decision. having a direction is a helpful thing.

2 Responses to “let’s call this a quest.”

  1. […] to go study theology at Carey Baptist College, and for many reasons. Chiefmost among them is this one here (if I detailed it now, it would make this blogpost even more elephantine than it already is). It […]

  2. qwandor Says:

    I have thought a lot of similar things. Still not sure who / if God is. And direction sure would be nice.

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