I’ve begun my research in earnest. I figure if this is going to be a reoccurring theme on the blog, I should probably explain exactly what it is I’m digging through and looking for. For those of you who may not know me on a personal level, I should probably come out and let you know that I am in fact, a giant nerd. This has several ramifications, but let’s focus on the relevant aspects as they relate to learning.
The way in which I gather knowledge on a new topic is reminiscent of a swirlie. I force my head into a basin of knowledge until I can barely take it anymore, then come up coughing and sputtering factoids to share with the world. Once I feel as though I’m saturated with science, I will write about it which is sort of like wringing out a psychic sponge. This process will be repeated until I feel as though I have successfully plumbed the depth of my topic.
So, all that to say, I’ve begun doing my research. As of right now, there are two directions I plan on focusing my studies… The first is to gain an understanding of Christianity as a movement. I want to know how our religion went from being what one Guy said was a good idea to being the largest religion on the planet. Specifically, I’m looking to the past for the places in which decisions about doctrine we take for granted were made.
To that end, I printed over 200 pages from Wikipedia. I know Wiki isn’t the most reliable source out there, but this isn’t the full extent of my research. I’m using these articles as a jumping off point. As I read through them, I’ve been highlighting the names and ideas that seem like they could be relevant. I call these “hooks”. So far I’m less than half way through and have probably close to fifty further topics to look into. Some of these are specific (Who was Pope Leo the Great?) , some of these are very general. (Where did Rome come from? Why did it fall? What about Greece? Hunh, what’s up with Islam?) It’ll be digging in with these hooks that the bulk of my knowledge will come from. Once I feel I’ve come to understand how the words of Christ have been translated, transliterated, and understood, I’ll be ready for part two of my research.
Understanding the context of Christ. I want to understand the things Jesus said not as an affluent American, but as a poor Jew from two thousand years ago would have understood them. This means becoming more familiar with the cultural climate, the history, the words, and the people that Jesus existed in and worked with. Essentially, I’m trying to create a workable hermeneutic that finds the spirit and real intent of Christ’s words without blindly forcing them to fit into my own life. I want Jesus to speak for himself.
So, that’s basically where I’m at. Once I’ve gone through my first round of research I may post the hooks I’ll be digging into. In the meantime, it’s time for work. 😛