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Honest To JesusPosted Thursday, February 19, 2009, at 9:15 PM
I first started my seminary training at Saint Paul School of Theology (a United Methodist Seminary) in Kansas City, Mo. At the beginning of one 6 credit hour Bible class I learned that Robert W. Funk PhD. had just be awarded the United Methodist Church Scholarly Teacher of the Year Award. Later I found out the Dr. Funk, Founder of the Jesus Seminar, and his colleagues had published a paper stating that only 16% of the sayings attributed to Jesus, the words written in RED, in the Gospels could be attributed to Jesus.
Growing up I was taught that the Bible was to be taken literally and that every word in it was divinely inspired and true.
I decided to go to seminary to seek answers to questions that I felt I needed answers too. I had been literally raised in church. I often tell people that when I was young I had a "Drug Problem." Every time the church doors were open my mother would drag me to church. Over the years I did learn a few things about God and Jesus and his Disciples. I also learned that if a person missed church, smoked, cursed, drank, went to the movies, played cards or monopoly that they were a back slider and outside the Grace of God.
I hoped that attending seminary would help me exorcise some of my own personal demons and give me clarity as to the full nature and purpose of the bible, God and religion in my life. Now I find out that some of the most renowned bible scholars couldn't agree with bible teachings. For six years they debated the issues in the bible and they finally agreed to disagree.
I worked as a pastor for several churches in a Parrish in NW, Mo. for several years during seminary, then I decided to go to law school.
I talk with people all the time about religion. I'm reminded constantly that I wasn't alone on the ship called Quest, looking for answers and finding more questions than answers. How can we as humans ever think that we could grasp the reality of the divine; to explain the inexplicable; to know the one and only truth as to who God is and why are we here and how can we the creation communicate with our creator? Looking back years later I can tell you that I think seminary was a good part of my life. I also find that there is no pat answers. Life itself is a quest and the time that we have on this small planet is a part of that quest.
I'm John Q.
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Larry Maxwell is a retired businessman who often writes about topics related to faith and religion.