2014 Reflections: Less is More
2014 was a year of considerable places where "less was more." So I'm going to recount some of them in a loose format.
- Less was more with respect to opening my Bible at church. I'm sure this breaks every artificial "berean" rule but I got more out of church when I closed my Bible. I listened to the person reading the Scripture instead of following along in a different translation. I listened to the preacher without proof texting him in my head or digging into the Greek of the passage. All of this was an effort in humbling myself. Humbling my choice in Biblical translation. Humbling my inflated view of theology. Church is a communion event. We are united with Christ and one another by listening to the events that we share not by each having individual judgments of every element of the service.
- Less was more with respect to my teaching. After teaching extensively and prepping teaching materials for the better portion of the last five years, it felt great to finally be able to dive back into the Scriptures and joyous reading. I read and studied. I had turmoil and conflict. I got to argue with myself and authors for months. I made friends and changed positions on some things. Teaching too often places many topics into the category of "black and/or white." Study and general personal development returns color to theology and the Scriptures. I spent the year being taught and while often uncomfortable I'm a better person for it.
- With respect to what books I read less was more. Now don't misunderstand me here, I read more. But I read less of what I naturally would. Reviewing books this year gave me an opportunity to review some things that I wouldn't normally have hunted down for reading. I could expound endlessly (ask Alaina she'll testify) on the beauty of Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology, The Cross and Gendercide, and Give Me Children or I Shall Die. Not only were these books authored by incredible women, something I was excited to encourage but had little experience with, but the issues and topics were numbing, exciting, crushing, and resurrecting all at the same time. By reading less of what I wanted, I read books that my soul desperately needed. I am indebted permanently for the gracious brothers and sisters in Christ who worked hard to publish books and were hence faithful companions throughout this year.
- With respect to listening to teaching less was certainly way more. I've already written at length about my decision to forgo Biblical teaching in the car (for a time) and committing to listening to the Bible. The results were spectacular with me making through the whole Bible twice and the Torah a third time in the NIV. It isn't that teaching is bad, but less of it was more. Having studied the Scriptures more intimately, discussions and teaching times grow in value. Deeper knowledge of the Bible would hold churches, pastors, and teachers more accountable and strength the church. The Scriptures alone are capable of doing this.