I guess yesterday's confession that I don't know what to do with my degree has got me admitting my weaknesses. I've heard that you're not supposed to do this, so if anyone was thinking of promoting me or hiring me, please stop reading. I don't want you to see this!
Anyway, the fact is that I feel theologically inferior to several people. Actually, to most people. I have written papers that got me great grades in most of my classes, but I'm not feeling too confident. The fact is that my rapture paper (96%) was written for a professor at a predominantly pre-millinial school. My paper on Satan (upper 90s%) was written with very little use of the original languages. Finally, my outstanding paper on missions in Japan (97%) was a practical paper, where I am strongest. I'm much more adept to discussing practical issues rather than the more theoretical.
When I read blogs by guys who are much more intelligent than I am, or when I think about the arguments my grandfather used to make, I feel honestly like I'm out of my league. These guys aren't discussing missions, outreach, or stuff like that...stuff I'm good at. Instead, they are writing about the possibility that Satan is not a singular being, but rather an idea or a group of beings. Another great writer proposes the idea that hell is not an eternal punishment, and he has answers for all of the verses that I think do show that hell is eternal. I could go on and on, because there are many examples, but I won't.
And when I write about doing something about Sendai Japan or Joplin Missouri, I get very little feedback. It's down right frustrating.
Even as I write this I feel convicted. The Lord has not given me a gift for theory and understanding specific scriptures. That kind of hurt to admit. However, the Lord has given me a gift of practical understanding. Somehow, I just have to find ways to display and discuss my ideas and the ideas of others. So maybe I got the wrong degree and I should have gone for an intercultural studies degree or something like that. Oh well. The Lord is able.
Hey Dan, my name is Garrett and I am new to your blog. I just want to say I really appreciate your thoughful insights into Navy life from a Christian perspective. I am a former sailor and was saved during my time in. I am now a Bible College student and was considering coming back in as a chaplian but thought that i could be much more useful as a regular sailor doing what you call "being a missionary/mentor to sailors." I was wondering if maybe you had any words of wisdom on this. As far as your concerns with being "theologically weak", I can relate with this, because I also have realized that my gifts are not in the area so much of being a great homilitician or theologian but God has givin me a great passion for the more practical things such as missions and evangelism. So, I would say go where God has called and gifted you to go. There is much need within our churches for men with vision and a heart for reaching out, and I would fair to say this is where your heart is. I trust God will give you clarity on this brother. Take care and God Bless!
Garrett, thank you very much for your thoughts. Please feel free to comment on anything I write. You bring a sense of practicality that I need here at Navy Christian.
As to your question, the simple fact is that we need good Chaplains. There aren't many of me in the trenches so to speak, but there aren't many men who are good chaplains either. My advice is that, if you're able, become a chaplain and train men like me to do the job I do. That is practical ministry at its best and it's what I'd be doing if I were able.
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