The Method to My Madness

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. 😛

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6 responses to “The Method to My Madness

  1. Ah…research! The “psychic sponge!” You are indeed my son.

    While I’m certain all of this will prove to be enlightening, please take it from a mom who has “been there, studied that” the head matter will become a heart matter in the end. Faith is the inevitable “bottom line” of Christianity.

    I pray you enjoy your journey!

  2. Sorry. I didn’t get any notice that you replied to the comment, and I didn’t check back on the blog till now. I’ll track them down for you.

    Doc Reece, a friend, and I were talking today he mentioned the author David Bentley Hart as being one of the best contemporary Christian writers. I noticed the book linked below. It looks like it may a good place to start also since its a high level overview, with pictures.

    http://www.amazon.com/Story-Christianity-Illustrated-History-Christian/dp/1847241409/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1305304409&sr=8-5

  3. Dude. I am studying the exact same thing right now. Too many sleepless night (not totally sleepless but it feels like it) spent tossing and turning and wrestling with the Christian faith and why I believe what I say what I believe and if I actually believe in it. So, I started in the book of Genesis to sort of figure out, not just why the Christian faith is what it is, but also why humans at all exist. God made humans. Why?

    I want to get a big picture of God’s relationship with humans and how it lead to Abraham and then to Moses and then to David and then to Jesus and then to the Disciples and the early church, and how the church has evolved over the years.

    There is an awesome book, you may have heard of it, called Pagan Christianity. What the authors did is take pieces of the church as it is right now and trace it back to it’s origin. Its not just 2 guys giving there opinions, they use hundreds and hundreds of sources all listed, not at the end of each chapter, but at the bottom of each page. This book may help you alot, not just with what it says, but also with the sources they quote you could look up for yourself.

    While I’m typing I might as well say that I’ve read a few of your other posts and I relate a ton to them. If, and by if I mean when, I show your blog to my wife she will agree wholeheartedly that we feel react similarly to certain issues.

    I hope these studies are fruitful for you!

    • Andrew,

      Thanks for the encouragement! I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about my post. I’ve not heard of the book, I’ll have to hunt it down. One thought, at my church one of the cornerstones they teach on is that the Bible is one story from beginning to end about God bringing his family back together again. Once you look at it as a meta-narrative, you begin to see how things connect with one another. Something you might want to check out is a guy named Chuck Missler. He’s a little old school, but he draws a lot of interesting parallels throughout the Bible and even manages to tie some of them into physics and modern science.

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