The Deception of the Finished Lesson

There’s a deception that I’ve come to … well, I don’t know that I actually “hate” it, but I sure don’t love it.

It’s a deception, an illusion, and it’s perpetrated, many times, in God’s name, and often with the best of intentions.

It’s the deception of the finished lesson.

I became aware of it while I was studying something-or-other for teaching. I felt like I was wrestling a greased pig. I cut my way through bunny trails and wild goose chases and fought off premature and inaccurate conclusions.

It was a long and arduous process.

And when I was done, I presented my results to the folks I was teaching, all tidy, all logical, all wrapped up with a nice little bow on it.

It was good teaching. And my conclusions were both accurate and relevant.

But I was uncomfortable with how tidy it was. This was not a tidy topic, and I felt that I’d done folks a disservice by hiding the blood, sweat, toil and tears that went into the process.

In actual fact, the blood, sweat, toil and tears are a legitimate part of the topic, of the conversation. Let’s be honest: outside of TV shows, there aren’t a lot of thorny questions that tidily wrap themselves up in 30 minutes, are there?

Image result for damaged packageIt seems to me that the need to make things tidy and clean and neat is not actually a benefit to American culture.

Let’s be specific. If we think that the abortion issue has a clean and simple answer, we’re not paying attention. If we think that the topic of social justice can be solved easily, we’re smoking something interesting. If we think the fear of God, or the grace of God, or the rapture, or the solution to immigration, or balancing a household budget have tidy answers, we’re not seeing the whole of the subject.

Christian platitudes are an abysmal failure. But Christian blogs and Christian books (and not-so-Christian books) that have clear-cut answers are equally deceptive.

We’ll see how I respond to this, how I deal with this in the future. As much as anyone else, I like having clear answers readily available, and I like not looking like a dork as I stumble for an answer that actually means something on a complex topic.

But we might find that not every post has a confident conclusion. I don’t know. We’ll see how this turns out.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I really like this article. For a while now, I have been wrestling with thoughts that nudge me toward this path of...REALITY?
Personally, I like things and people who are real and transparent. I have a friend who, if you ask her how she's doing on ANY given day, she will always answer with the biggest grin ever: "I'm blessed and not stressed, sister!!!!!" I'm always secretly hoping she doesn't ask me how I'm feeling on some of my more challenging days. And, if she does, how should I respond. For instance, if I had just received very bads news concerning my family...or...??? I once sat under a pastor who consistently insisted that...if you're experiencing big challenges and losses...then, obviously "you aren't sold out to God." (His words exactly). In my "big challenges and losses" I am learning something about God that perhaps I would not have learned with an easier life?. I am learning more about myself, too. I see things that God wants to cull out of me. I can see them without self-condemnation. But, also, He points out beauty, compassion, wisdom and light that He has put inside me. This "PROCESS" is strangely working together for something I've always deeply yearned for. No, it is not necessarily more money (although, I could use some). It is not fame, popularity, power or a name in ministry. My challenges have moved me toward a deeper understanding of the Father's heart. My sufferings have ushered me into His embracing presence in a tangible way. In life, there WILL BE good days...and bad. Sometimes...VERY bad days. I don't believe life's "LESSON" is ever over.