Thursday, 17 May 2018

Lamentation of a God nerd

I’m a God nerd.  I like talking about God and I enjoy the company of people that like talking about God. Some people will talk sports, others about popular culture, and still others video games. But my mind is consumed with Scripture. If you are to accept that God is there, how could you not want to know everything about Him that is humanly possible? Wouldn’t you want to know what He told us about Himself? When your eyes see something that wondrous, that beautiful, they seldom wish to look away. That is the perspective of a God nerd.

The sad truth though, is that my type seems far and in between. Sure you can find Christians that like an odd conversation. But I find it hard to find people that really want to consistently dig in deeply (or even shallowly). God’s there, but they almost have Him compartmentalized off to the side. It’s like He’s in a cage and they let Him out once in a while to play with Him. Then they return Him into the cage and carry on with their life,

I don’t generally care to discuss how my work day was. I want to talk about those moments when God’s light broke through. I want to discuss insights from Scripture. And I love expounding my study for those that haven’t the desire or will to study.  I don’t mean to suggest that everyone should be a theologian. Or maybe I do. It’s just the way I’m hardwired and I don’t understand how God can’t be the central point by which every conversation orbits. This is likely a reflection of the body and its many different parts, each complimenting the other and doing a different thing. There is a degree by which we should all seek God out, but even in the OT everyone wasn’t a Levite. If David spent all his time studying Torah he wouldn’t have been able to run the Kingdom. Those that studied Torah informed him of God’s will so he could rule justly. I’m talking about the depth and breadth of study; everyone should grow in knowledge of God. If you’re not growing you’re standing still. And when you’re standing still it’s easier to walk backwards.

I noticed this theological loneliness decades ago. And the unfortunate consequence of it is you learn to blend in with those around you. It’s like in the movie “The Body Snatchers”, where a couple of humans had learnt that they could pass undetected in amongst the aliens by not expressing any emotion. You learn to never talk about God. And it seems to me that when you don’t talk about Him you start to forget about Him.

I was lucky enough in the last couple of years to find a like-minded friend. The beauty of having someone that loves to talk about God as much as you do is that it helps you refine your thinking. It sharpens your spirit: as iron sharpens iron. This deep thinking and interaction is a component of Christian meditation. It is completely opposed to pagan meditation where you empty yourself and await some unknown to fill you. The Christian purposely fills themselves with God’s Word, and lets their spirit dwell on it. 

It is interesting at how spoilt I was, for with that friend’s departure I realized I had forgotten about this dynamic: that it is difficult to find someone to God-talk with. Someone who’s joy was in devotionals. I had just watched an RC Sproul video and noted he had made a tiny error (the man is brilliant). How I wished I could have talked with him before his death. To count him as my friend and spend some time discussing our mutual joy: God. I would have loved to test him on that weak point in his thinking, as I’m sure he would have tested me back (a thousand fold). Yet now I sat in the company of myself, with no one to seek God with. To understand Scripture is to know God deeper, so to study and refine your understanding of what God said about Himself is to seek Him.

I have developed my own approach to understanding Scripture and developed a 3 point theological system based on it. I can successfully use that approach to expound any scripture and to direct how we are to live. I have been trying to develop these 3 points in my writing on my blog.

But it is so helpful to have a sounding board for your ideas. Someone to share with that is like minded. Only when you are forced to express your thoughts in a logical matter will you see if they logically hold up. Many times we have diametrically opposed beliefs in our head and these inconsistencies are brought to light by Godly dialogue with holy friends. We refine our thoughts. We sharpen our intellect. We grow in our knowledge of God. And in growing, learn how to live better and sin less.

In my experience, it is difficult to find this breed. Even in Churches. Many are versed in catechism and not Scripture. Many marinate themselves in popular culture and not the Word. Many see biblical exegesis as divisive and prone to hurt people’s feelings. Many don’t know God or wish to know Him. Sure I can find people to argue with, evangelize, or debate, but to find a fellow God nerd is rare.

Let me offer an olive branch here. People are different. I understand we all don’t bury ourselves in the Word. This is why I called myself a God nerd. Perhaps a Bible nerd would be more fitting. My wife is a musician. She spends every passing moment refining her skill, practising. Her interest is in music. It is how God wired her I suppose. She can use that to His glory. He wired me differently. I need to know Him properly. I need to weed out error in how I think He is. And I suppose He made me that way so I could help others see Him in a clearer light. Those that play music for example may need people like me as a trusted source on matters of God.

It is comical. The other day with my bible buddy gone, I tried to explain my scriptural insights to my wife (to share my joy and to test myself). When you start to talk about God most Christians are happy and give a curtesy smile. But if you keep talking about God, say for over 10 minutes, their eyes become vacant, lol, and they look for an escape plan. I could tell she couldn’t even hear me anymore, and wasn’t understanding anything I said. I likely sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher in Peanuts. My interest in the subject was deeper than hers was (in actuality, she had never considered the subject before I brought I up, and she seemed happy to forget it as soon as I had finished, lol).

She is content to live and love God, but rarely talks about Him. So when I started contemplating verses out loud, she began emulating a kid at Church, fidgeting and wondering when the `sermon’ would end. Between my blinks she bolted and disappeared behind a locked door, lol; and in the safe confines of that room she resumed her joy, the study of music. She has no joy in discussing God’s immutable characteristics. She trusts me to know these things for her, so she can focus on her craft.

Likewise, she will start talking endlessly about fingering techniques and lip embouchure. Why a non-musician like myself knows more about these things than the average high school band teacher is telling to the amount of tutorage I have had to endure, lol. And trust me, after a couple decades of marriage, you no longer wish to learn about how to properly play Mozart. When she is distracted, I will gladly climb out the window to escape, lol. People have different interests. That is okay. Use them all to God’s glory. She has several musician friends to share her passion with. She can share it with me, and does, but my understanding is very superficial, and it is hard for me to maintain my interest in something I have no passion for. Likewise, it is the same for her in regards to my interest in the Bible and the Church and how they relate to our living and society. This gives us pause to smile at the complexities of people and relationships. God truly finds joy in us in the details.

So what am I to do? I will ponder God alone until He gives me someone to ponder with. That’ll make my wife happy when I find someone; she might even unlock the studio’s door, lol.

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