Many of you know that Melanie has had serious back problems for several years now. She has had multiple operations. The last one was when she fractured vertebrae when she vomited after eating spoiled food in a restaurant. It hasn’t been easy.
Well, the good news is that I think her troubles are soon over. I’ve been reading about a surgery that I think I can do myself. I read on Wikipedia that a doctor in Switzerland developed it. I won’t try to explain it here but it involves making an incision in her back three inched wide and two inches deep. Then there’s tapping the vertebrae back in place with a small hammer, sort of like a geological tool. I read on another medical (well, actually holisitic health) site that there’s a special bone adhesive you use. I can buy the glue from that site. I don’t have every single detail figured out but I think I’ve got the idea well enough that once we’ve bought the necessary supplies, I’m going to take the scalpel and go in! We’d appreciate your prayers.
Are you okay with that? Well, relax. It’s not true. I’d be an idiot to think I can understand back surgery by reading Wikipedia and a few web sites by people who are generally opposed to surgery. Everybody would see through that it in second.
On the other hand, the same can’t be said about theology. I’m amazed by the number of blogs, Facebook posts and comments I read in which somebody professes to be solving problems and giving exact answers about theology that have been debated from the very beginning of the early church. How’d they come up with their definitive answers to age-old questions? Wikipedia. Or their favorite preacher’s blog. Or their next door neighbor’s nephew’s pastor, who reputedly told the nephew the answer before it was passed back up line to them.
And the amazing thing? People buy it. In fact, they repeat it. Like parrots in a pet store, they all start screeching the same thing. They haven’t studied the Bible to come to an answer. Why should they? They learned what Trinitarianism is from Wikipedia! They understand the whole issue of hell because they read online where (insert name) explained it. They heard a guy say that he knew a guy who saw a guy embrace that doctrine and it wrecked his family’s life!
In today’s religious climate there are two dangers, coming from opposite extremes. The first is rejecting something we hear because it is new to us. The other is embracing something we hear because it is new to us. Some people seek to preserve tradition and are threatened by ideas that contradict what they’ve always believed. Others, who’ve been burned in the religious world, impulsively jump on any new idea they believe is a slap in the face to the tradition they have heartily renounced.
Paul commended the Berean Christians by saying, “These people were more receptive than those in Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive the message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if those things were so” (Acts 17:11) Listen to those you respect. Read the blogs. Check out the FB posts, but at the end of the day, study the Bible for yourself. None of us are 100% right on everything we say. We’re all in process. We certainly can learn from each other but we each have the duty to study the Scripture and see what The Teacher says to us about the things we’ve heard and read.
I need to go now. Melanie’s back hurts and I have a knife, hammer and glue to purchase.