This morning I began reading The Theology of the First Christians
by Walter Schmithals. Macy climbed up into my chair, squeezed in next to me, and asked me to read it to her.
I thought she'd get tired of it after the first paragraph, but she sat there quietly and listened to almost three pages. Three pages of sentences like this one:Although in principle he presented Jesus as an apocalyptist, he held to the liberal idea of the "kingdom of God" as it had been worked out by Ritschl in relation to Kant and Enlightenment theology, because it was best suited "for bringing the Christian religion to our race and, properly understood and expressed, to awakening and cultivating a healthy and vigorous religious life, which we need today."
And this one:In spite of such consolations and over against them, the most influential consequence of the discovery of Jesus' apocalyptic message was the overcoming of ethicizing liberal theology, in whose bosom that discovery had been unwillingly made; this happened at first through parts of the developing history-of-religions school and then definitively through dialectical theology.
It's dense stuff even for me.
But she listened for a long while before calmly saying "I'm done" and scampering off to play.
I wondered why she would sit for so long. She obviously couldn't have understood it. My guess is that there was something enjoyable about just sitting next to her Dada and listening to his voice. Perhaps there was a momentary curiosity about "Dada's books," a slight entrance into Dada's world that held some mystery.
A lesson in that guess hit me quickly. Sometimes -- oftentimes
-- what God is saying to me in his written Word and through my circumstances is uncomfortable and confusing, but maybe I should take comfort and find enlightenment in the fact that he is speaking in the first place. I may frequently be confused by what
the Father is saying to me, but in the midst of my confusion perhaps I can find peace and pleasure simply in hearing his voice.