Finding the time to compose a blog hasn’t been easy lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had enough free time (I started and finished Sherlock – both seasons), but harnessing that free time into some form of intellectual activity outside of schoolwork hasn’t seemed worth the effort – mostly because I’m lazy, but partially because I want to walk around Portland pretending to solve some sort of crime by nothing but a shoelace or a piece of gum stuck to a doorknob.
It’s a miracle I’m still in school, really.
But there are things to blog about; Thanksgiving was wonderful (thanks to the Stoppers and Bri), Christmas is a few weeks away, and, little by little, I’m falling in love with the academic world.
Yesterday afternoon I drove over to George Fox University’s Newburg campus to check out their bookstore and, well, to see the main campus. As I walked amongst the buildings and through the courtyard, I felt I was on familiar territory – even though I had never been to this campus before.
Strangely, I felt home.
Not “home” like Lincoln City is home (or even Eugene) – not in the sense of “Oh, I recognize almost everything about this place and recall so many fond memories.” I mean “home” in the sense of the atmosphere; that even though I had barely a clue where the bookstore was, being in a place where people are asking questions, discovering perspectives, and becoming more fully themselves is a place I can call home.
For one of my classes last night, we were asked to bring a picture that best explains, with few additional words, how God speaks to us outside of Scripture (like the “totems” in Inception; not that the picture itself is the totem, but what the picture represents). What I chose as my picture was a famous painting (at least, I think it’s famous) entitled Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (by Casper David Friedrich).
I didn’t know who painted it or when, but I picked it because at many points in my life, I have felt like the “wanderer”; standing alone up high on some ledge peering out to the grand mystery before me. And being overwhelmed with awe at how beautiful it all is.
To me, the fog represents the things in life that we don’t know or can’t explain. What little we actually can see (the small hilltops peaking through the fog) depicts what little we actually know (or at least the bits that we think we know). In order to journey through the land – maybe to the mountains in the distance – we must travel through the fog patches, the seasons of uncertainty (even only to get to the places we can see). After describing how God speaks clearest to me when I’m able to survey all the confusing parts of life (the sea of fog) mixed with the few parts of life that aren’t so confusing, I quickly realized this is what draws me to Scripture.
For as much as I know about Scripture, there is much more that I don’t’ know. As in the painting; the parts the wanderer can see the clearest are overwhelmed by “the sea of fog” – by that which isn’t clear. Scripture provokes and prods me towards the fog; I am compelled to seek even if I never find. Like Sherlock becoming restless until he has a complex case to solve, I feel restless until I’ve begun wandering through the fog of Scripture.
By no means am I suggesting that I’m some genius, “high-functioning sociopath” who can tell you your life story just by the way your tie is arranged. But I am saying that my clearest moments with God are when I am immersed in His mysteries – when I’m enveloped by the foggy parts of life and Scripture.
Such a realization of such a love for God’s mysteries in Scripture has left me considering something beyond a Master’s degree: a PhD. Of course, I know next to nothing about how I’m supposed to get one, where I’m supposed to begin, or what I’m supposed to even study. But I know that I love the academic environment and that the only way for me to remain in such an environment is to study enough to be able to teach, which I think involves earning a PhD.
Or becoming a janitor and secretly using the hallway chalkboard to solve Scriptural riddles that have never been solved before (i.e. Good Will Hunting).
So I guess that sums up my last week and a half; Thanksgiving was great, Benedict Cumberbatch is the man, and I love the academic side of Scripture. I can’t promise any more blog posts between now and the end of the semester (December 20th), but I’ll try my best. I’ve been reading another book by Kent Nerburn (The Wolf at Twilight, sequel to Neither Wolf, Nor Dog) and it’s absolutely wonderful, so I might crank something out of there. But we’ll see.
In the meantime, stay warm. Stay curious. And DFTBA (“Don’t Forget To Be Awesome” – Green brothers).