Today was the annual “Pastor Appreciation Day” at Reicher Catholic High School. The St. Alban’s youth that attend Reicher get a yearly laugh at my expense when some teacher thinks that I’m a student. Sigh. It’s the curse and the blessing of a baby face.
Part of the rigmarole includes the theology teachers showing us their textbooks and talking about the curriculum. Being good Anglicans, the St. Alban’s youth are skeptical, yet understanding of the vast Catholic tradition. There was one point, though, when all the Episcopalians gave a communal eye roll.
The Bible used in all of the theology courses at Reicher is “The New Catholic Answer Bible.” When the theology teacher (Deacon Jeff Heipel, who is a baller that demands my total respect) picked up that Bible and started to talk about it, there was a palpable feeling of discontent among the Episcopalians. I think that St. Alban’s has done a good job of forming these youth to understand that the Bible isn’t to answer our questions, but it’s to question us.
This is where, I think, that Catholics and Baptists have much in common. Stereotypically, these groups want to know the right answer. From the outside, it almost seems like an obsession. There is this unmitigated desire to know the facts about God.
And that’s where Episcopalians differ. We don’t want to know about God, we want to know God. The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments help us on this journey but we realize that, more often than not, it’s the Bible that raises questions of us. “Are we being faithful? Are we living into the fullness of God’s Kingdom? Where do we need correction or exhortation?”
Don’t try to know about God. Because in the end, our limited words can never fully describe the ineffable wonders of God. Rather, try to know God. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2).