I was fortunate enough to have two parents that were educators. As they were raising my brother and I, learning was an important emphasis. Throughout childhood and into teenage years, we also had the benefit of a pastor at our home church who was actively working on his own PhD at Drew University.
Combine these sets of influences, and it is no wonder that my brother and I turned our inquiries towards Christianity, and were even encouraged by our mentors to constantly dig deeper.
Cynthia Bourgeault, in her book on the Trinity, begins her topic by talking about an older couple being gifted a cupboard by their son only to find out that what they thought was just a cupboard actually was a two-way radio in one of its compartments. They essentially misunderstood the gift they were given, and then were blessed by it being unlocked before their eyes to an even greater gift than a cupboard.
It is in my estimation that much of the Christianity that is offered in the west is very much like that cupboard-holding-a-radio. The gift is ultimately different and more profound than originally received. As I went through undergrad and seminary, I became enraptured by each unfolding of the Christian religion that happened for me in each of my classes. Nothing stood out more than each lecture that seemed to unlock the beauty of the faith further, that showed me a further blossoming of the tradition.
Jokingly, I like to tell people that I wish everyone could go to seminary. I wish everyone could have the chance to do some legitimate spiritual formation work and to be guided through the historic and groundbreaking texts of Christianity.
The problem is that we all too often settle for a nice Christianity that meets us and comforts us but doesn’t challenge us or invite us into the mystery of growing in faith. Information has taken the place of transformation, and it has left us unchanged. After all, how is it possible that someone can go to church and sit in the pews for 50 years and yet still be the same person?
Perhaps it is because we think that the mystery of the Christian faith doesn’t have any other angles or perspectives than the ones we were first given. It is true that there is the “primacy effect” in which we hold tightly to the first thing that we hear, even if it is sub-par or less than true…
So, all this goes to say, I hope that if you are reading this, that you make a promise. Make a commitment for your own well being and spiritual formation.
Be like Alice in Wonderland and go tumbling down the rabbit hole.
There are depths and surprises and curves and mysteries to the Christian faith that await you. There are treasures and wisdoms hidden in the tradition that you have not yet encountered, but that does not mean that they do not exist. It is not that Christianity is boring or humdrum, rather it is your adventurousness that may have become boring or humdrum. There comes a point when you may ask, “Is this all there is?” You may even choose to give up on Christianity because you think it has nothing more to say to you, but that is inaccurate. Tumble down the rabbit hole.
Never think that you have understood Christianity. Never assume that it has nothing more to say to you. Do not, for one instant, believe that there isn’t a greater gift about to be uncovered if you just dug a little deeper.
With that in mind, perhaps it is time for you to commit and little further, and see just how far down the rabbit hole you can go.