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Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Scholarly vs. Faith
In response to Michele-I am with you. While I am learning, there is much in the way of theological jargon, facts, history etc. that I am unfamiliar with. I sometimes wonder though, if I am better off not keeping up with every point and detail.

While I may not always be able to explain my faith, I love that feeling of knowing just because; confidant in knowing that it is what God wants without the need for a technical explanation. (Trying to make a point here, the following is written with no intent to boast.) I have been admired for my "innocent" faith, and in a lot of ways it remains so because of this lack of knowledge. Knowledge in the Bible yes, but when it comes to the rest, why do I need to know every scholars opinion before I am able to formulate my own? I read quite a bit, however, there are so many who are extremely well read. I wonder if they get as much from Gods Word as from whatever book is currently most popular. I wonder if God might say that we spend too much time debating theology, and not enough time putting it into practice; too much time defending our theologies and not enough time relying on faith?

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posted by Tiffanie Lloyd at 2:00 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 9/05/2006 05:57:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    interesting thoughts. I fully agree that we need to spend more time actually practicing and living faith. We can "know" God and have an authentic faith without a lot of study, theology, or knowledge. But there are very real dangers in not seeking to know as much as we can about God. The number of bible studies that i've had to sit under that made seriously wrong assertions about scripture is depressing. The fact that a very popular bible study writer could make so many mistakes and that the 50+ women in my own group were unable to catch them scares me. That is how bad theology and lies about scripture begin. They spread as truth and then one is caled heretical if one questions them. If people would only spend some time in study and research such issues might not occur quite as often.

  • At 9/05/2006 06:54:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I agree with both. Again, I am a huge "both/and" person. I think a life time can be spent chasing all the differing thoughts on God, theology, history etc. That is where Faith and a soft heart comes in. We won't ever come close to all of the knowledge available. I am grateful for stepping out of my box and reading books and ideas that before I probably wouldn't have. I also have spent time listening to some theology conversations (something I had never done before) and I have gotten a lot out of them. I do think the Bible is number one. My problem was I would try and try and due to the context I was given, it really didn't touch my life. Until I was willing to hear other perspectives in books etc, see different contexts, etc. was I able to go back to the Bible and really see it in a whole new light. It's been a rollercoaster ride for me this year. I spent more time reading and studying then practicing. However, I am now in a much better place and am ready more than I ever was to serve and show my faith.

  • At 9/06/2006 09:24:00 AM, Anonymous Kate

    I'm just throwing this out there: Should we as women expect to be taken seriously in theological conversations, in the emerging conversation, if we choose not to engage in serious study of both the Bible and scholarly books? I'm not saying we should run after every pop religion book and spend our days arguing every insignificant detail, but we need women who are willing to dig in and engage important texts. I appreciate the idea of an "innocent faith," but I don't think innocence and ignorance should be confused. (Btw, I'm not accusing Tiffanie of being ignorant.)

  • At 9/06/2006 11:03:00 AM, Blogger Tiffanie

    Yes, women's voices too should be taken seriously; which does require us to be informed. I guess, like with anything, there needs to be a balance between "innocence" and education. Do you think though that this balance might require men (assuming the greatest difference is between men and women) to make a shift closer toward faith? If men (or women) are not willing to consider a faith based perspective, why should women (or men) be expected to entertain a scholarly one in order to have their voices heard? With our "innocence" do we not have just as much to bring to the table?

  • At 9/06/2006 11:58:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    I think a lot of the scholars would say that faith informs their intellect. Most that I know say that their faith grew as a result of their studies (as well as grew more complex). "Innocence" or humble authentic faith is good and necessary, but in commun experience it is too often associated with ignorant faith. Personally I would rather be a bit cynical and jaded, intellectual and full of questions as I seek truth than innocent and uncritical of my faith. But thats me.

  • At 9/06/2006 12:37:00 PM, Blogger Tiffanie

    I see what you are saying Julie. I think where my questions are coming from is that "Innocence" or humble authentic faith is too often associated with ignorant faith. I don't think that I am ignorant and I am actively seeking growth. However, the stage I am currently in is not one where I am "keeping up on every point and detail". That being so, should I sit back and observe until I am "intellectual" enough to participate?

  • At 9/06/2006 04:34:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    T: No one can keep up with all the possibilities of study in any area, let alone Christianity. My story is of an extended Christian journey that has proven to be a colorful interweaving of life choices and experiences, budding and growing faith and varying degrees of reading and writing here and there. It all adds to the definition and image of who I am today. Too complex to seperate out particulars!

    I encourage you to Stay In! One of the unique characteristics of this new cultural age is that the art of conversation has become an integral medium for our learning, growing and transformational curve. (Taking the place of enlightenment's 'being lectured at.')

    We're all 'in'... no one's voice is invaluable.

  • At 9/06/2006 05:39:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I would echo Sherri and say that we are all in on this journey together. Some are more intellectual than others, but the point is to be on the journey and not give up.

    I was reading an article for our church vision team and thought it had some things to say related to this discussion. Check out Brian McLaren's "Dorothy on Leadership" here

  • At 9/06/2006 06:24:00 PM, Anonymous Kate

    Tiffanie, I would definitely encourage you to stay in the conversation. In my experience, observation is good, engagement is much better. Glad to have you along for the journey. I'm sure my cynicism and critical nature could be positively affected by people who have reached and are striving for a more balanced perspective!

    By the way, I don't think that men being "intellectual" and women being "emotional" is little more than a culturally reinforced stereotype. Ahhh...I love to generalize.

  • At 9/06/2006 08:43:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Thanks Julie for the link.

  • At 9/07/2006 10:08:00 AM, Blogger soldiermom

    This faith verses knowledge journey for me has been one of learning to not hold on to my idea of the truth so tightly that I wring its ittle neck. I try to seek, learn, listen and try to hold on to what appears to be true to me at the time. Knowing full well that what seemed like truth to me 20 years ago, now makes me cringe.

    As I let go of the strangle hold I have on my truth I can better grasp on to faith to help me understand other's truths, to try and see that God is too big for me to try and make sense of and that I can live in a world that doesn't make sense better through faith than through any knowledge that I have obtained.

    I would say, this has been the hardest part of my journey and I pull it back all the time!! I hear what you all are saying and I so appreciate the common struggle.

  • At 9/07/2006 07:04:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Well said.

  • At 9/09/2006 05:03:00 PM, Blogger Sue Densmore

    How's this for an image - for the faith versus knowledge thing, and other classic tensions (like predestination versus free will - ack):

    Each side of this "argument" is a tent stake. The tension between them is what holds the tent up. So, if you've got one to the exclusion of the other, your faith isn't a very good tent.

  • At 9/09/2006 09:03:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Sue ... So, it's "Life Under The Big Tent" hey!

    Love it! Totally a cool image to ponder and play with ...

    Life in faith under
    Camping tents (life here so subject to the W/winds)
    Circus tents (yes, sometimes my life has been quite a circus! Ha.)
    Mosquito tent (some people do just bug ya along the way!)

    Wisdom, Soldiermom.

  • At 9/10/2006 10:04:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    For me, while I enjoy the intellectual discussions, sometimes I feel like they get derailed off of a "God" track onto a dice, slice and label track. Lately I've been noticing comments that seem to act like anything "labeled" postmodern, emergent, modern, traditional, whatever, is therefore "good" or "bad" because of the label. Rather than good or bad because it genuinely leads me closer to God and His truth.

    It's just something that's been getting to me lately.


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