Unnecessary barriers

Why am I going to study theology

This September I’ll be moving to England to study theology at the London School of Theology.

Why?

  1. My relationship with Jesus will be stronger and deeper with this time of focus.
  2. I always want to know how things work, or how they might work. It’s probably why I work with computers.
  3. I want to spend more time in and around Europe and the Middle East - London is a lot closer than Wellington.
  4. I want to learn more about Islam so that I can have coherent conversations with my Muslim friends.

My main reason for going is this:

  1. The ultimate goal of my life is removing unnecessary barriers.

In my political views1, in my economic and social views, in my attitudes towards UI design, and API design. It’s how I want to improve my writing - to learn to write clearly and efficiently, but with enough fun to keep boredom from being a barrier2.

Unnecessary rules

I spend a lot of time thinking about ethics and morality and law, the rules we have and make and which are necessary and which are not.

This battle over which rules applied universally and which were just unnecessary barriers to a life following Christ is woven through most of the New Testament3.

I want to have a deeper understanding of ethics and morality and law.

Unnecessary intellectual challenges

There are so many questions and answers floating around Christianity, as well as so much misunderstanding and misinformation, either wilful or non.

These questions and their sometimes unsatisfactory answers can be unnecessary barriers to being open to a life following Christ.

I know there are better answers, I don’t always know how to articulate them, or how to extricate the actual question being asked out of people’s general barrage of imprecision.

I want to be able to clearly and satisfactorily answer people’s tough (sincere) questions.

Unnecessary intellectual requirements

I’m not going to theology school to be a professional theologian, to talk about ivory-tower theologianny stuff with other theologians all day.

Programming has trained me to ensure my logic is sound and clear. Design school trained me to present things attractively and simply in new ways. I feel like combining this skills and learnings will enable me to do … something?

I want to be able to explain these complex ideas about God and life, and why they matter clearly and simply.

Unnecessary infighting

One of my friends recently posted this to Facebook:

How can #Calvinists & #Arminians #Cessationists & #Continuationists and #egalitarians & #complementarians work together for the #Gospel ?

It prompted a bit of (positive) debate, but ultimately reminded us that these things don’t matter as much.4 Though so often this spills out as a kind of narcissism of minor differences/which local sports team do you support - this isn’t useful, helpful, productive, constructive, etc.

One of the reasons I was attracted to LST is that it is cross-denominational. Hopefully they will embody the universal Church well.

I want to have a deeper appreciation for those views I don’t hold, and to work and live with people who differ.

Unnecessary cultural baggage

It’s not just rules and laws that are sometimes un/necessary barriers, but rituals and practices and structures - do we need to do Church the same way as twenty-first-century pop-culture, or nineteenth-century rural America, or sixteenth-century Germany, or the first-century Roman empire?

I don’t want to throw babies out with their bathwater, and I have to fight against my own aggressive anti-traditional bias, but I think these are good questions to ask.

I want to have a deeper understanding of the essentials of Christianity, and how to wrap Christianity in various cultural contexts.

I’m so excited.

  1. My political views lean toward the socialist - removing barriers to access and to means, rather than the libertarian goal of removing regulatory barriers. 

  2. Boredom with what I’m write is mostly a barrier for me. 

  3. Especially Acts 15

  4. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for talking about various doctrines, and I will argue at length for an egalitarian view.