The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Whaddayaknow?

"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

Those words from Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" seem to fit ever-so-nicely these days, particularly when it comes to my ever-evolving theology.

As I continue to dig more deeply into what it is I know, versus what it is I thought I knew 20 years ago when I surrendered to Jesus Christ, I realize just how much I don't know.

It sort of reminded me of my Pa's explanation of academic degrees:

"Buzzy, when you get a bachelor's degree, it just shows you how much you didn't know. When you get a master's, you find out that there was just that much more that didn't know. When you get a PhD, you discover that you are, after all, phenomenally dumb."

I think when it came to understanding the difference between the message and theology, I was phenomenally dumb.

Maybe I still am, but I'm learning.

I'm preaching this Sunday on Matthew 15:10-28, but mostly 21-28. It's the story of the Canaanite woman who pleaded for mercy for her daughter. The disciples wanted Jesus to send her away, which some have interpreted to mean, "Give her what she wants, Jesus, so she'll stop bugging us." Jesus says, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ... It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." To which the woman replies, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Jesus then relents, saying, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And the daughter was healed.

During this week's lectionary meeting, I posed the question of, "Could it be that, in his humanity, Jesus was still learning?"

It sort of goes along with something I was reading in Brian McLaren's "The Church on the Other Side," in reference to "resurrecting theology as art and science." We don't believe the ultimate sunset has been painted, nor that the ultimate song has been written, and thus we can cease painting and writing music. Yet, McLaren says the church has somehow gotten the idea that all that could ever be learned about God has been learned; that "theologians either had or were about to finish theology ... as if God were a more limited realm that science and art!"

"If all problems have theoretically been solved, and if everything worth saying has been said as well as it can be, then theology is dead, whether God lives or not!"

Wow.

To me, God is still revealing ... and thank God!

I mean, if Jesus -- God with skin on! -- was still learning while he was in mission to this world, then who on this earth could legitimately claim to have the last word on The Word?

In my initial years as a toddler in Christ, I felt so mucher older in the faith than the reality of my years with Christ. Thanks be to God that I am younger than that now.

Grace and peace ...