His mom and dad aren’t trained theologians, like yours truly, but they make their best efforts at answering his tough questions. And when in doubt, they send him to the one who spent the better part of his life stuck in seminary libraries (with no social life) and who has a direct line to God himself. Are they talking about me?
“Ask Preacher Steve,” they tell him.
So, on a Wednesday night, the second most sacred day of the week, Field asks the religious authority in his life, the man with all the answers, the man so close to God that he and God text every day, the really tough one, “Where did God come from?”
Given his confusion about college affiliation, I didn’t want to confuse him further. Thus, I decided not to go with my first answer, “Tuscaloosa.” The answer I gave him wasn’t very good. After years of exile in seminaries you would think I could come up with something better. My answer was a lame “I don’t know.”
I’m sure Field was disappointed in my answer, and he may not listen to anything else I ever have to say. So, why would that be any different than half my church? But maybe what I said to him is the very best thing that I could have ever said. I hope it is not the last time he hears a preacher say, “I don’t know.”
Unfortunately, we Christians have become known more for our cocksure attitudes than for our humility. We often act like we are the possessors of all truth on everything, and our perspectives are all always the correct ones. The truth is, those of us who live on biblical authority have been wrong about a lot of things. We have been on the wrong side of history on social issues (slavery) and science issues (Galileo). A large dose of humility would help our Christian witness immensely.
According to what I have read, pagan thinkers never honored humility. But read the Bible. Jesus talked freely about His most difficult moments, like when He was in the desert and tempted or when He was in the garden and His disciples fell asleep. In the Bible, Simon Peter comes off looking like a loser in Mark, a gospel that apparently depended on his testimony for material. This same Simon Peter and John, two heroes of the early church, got a little full of themselves at times, and both receive strong rebukes in all four gospels.
I may not have given Field the answer he wanted, but maybe I gave him a better one.
Davis is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Carrollton.