The Cobwebs of My Mind

In the women’s Bible study at our church, our pastor has been teaching through a book about the biblical patriarchs. The discussions about creation, the fall, original sin, the flood, etc., have led to some interesting rabbit trail discussions that have more to do with philosophy and apologetics than perhaps most people would imagine from a group that consists a bunch of women who are mostly middle-class moms. The conversations have started to clear away some of the cobwebs in my head from my days in college when I took a “philosophical” class in Christian apologetics. (I say “philosophical” because the class my husband took in serminary dealt more with evangelism and outreach than with developing philosophical arguments.)

My class in apologetics, now lo, some 20 years ago is one of my favorite academic memories. I went to a Christian college rooted in anabaptist history. My professor for this class was Dr. Randall Basinger. He is quite the scholarly fellow, and he had written some very obviously arminian books and articles. Most of my classmates were also arminians. I had one friend in the class who was a Calvinist, and he and I were always the designated devil’s advocates in almost every discussion. I remember devouring the articles and books that we read for this class and then writing responses to them with great enthusiasm. Even though I disagreed with practically everything my professor said, I always appreciated him because he seemed to value my opinion.

I am thinking about all of this because this Bible study is reminding me of a time when I enjoyed reading thoughtful and somewhat complicated pieces. I also enjoyed interacting with them–picking them apart, trying to wrap my mind around the ideas of really good thinkers. It seems so long ago that I was this person. As time marched on after college, I was not called on to read anything very complex. I think I still would have enjoyed reading philosophy and apologetics, but I didn’t have anyone guiding me to things that would be worthwhile to read. Then, as more years passed, I got busy with marriage and kids, and the idea of reading something more challenging than Goodnight Moon had lost its appeal altogether.

So, now that all these ideas about “the problem of evil” and “God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill,” have come up in discussion, I find myself remembering words like “ontological,” “teleological,” and “supralapserian” and “fideism” (which, by the way,I just had to have Mark remind me how to spell).

So what’s the point of all this? I am not really sure. I am feeling like I might want to jump back into reading some deeper things. Yet I also know that I am busy and I will likely not find much time for such an endeavor. Perhaps I’ll look for a book about apologetics that is written at a more popular than academic level that I can read. Maybe I’ll find some other women who want to read it with me and talk about it. I know I can talk to Mark about anything I would read, but I think it would be more fun to have a group conversation and to hear what others are thinking about what they are reading.

I already have a book in mind–Apologetics to the Glory of God by John Frame. Has anyone read it? What are your thoughts? Will it meet my need to rekindle some of my old philosophical interest?

I guess I am also wondering if I am capable of really thinking again. Has my brain atrophied to the point of no return? I think I’ll work on making this group a reality some time in the near future just to test my brain and maybe learn something.

8 thoughts on “The Cobwebs of My Mind”

  1. Jennifer,
    Sounds like fun. Can I join in? Maybe we can meet halfway somewhere for a discussion group 😉 Seriously though, if you do start reading a book, let me know, I would be interested to communicate via emails or telephone conversations. I think I might be ready to read something a little more thought provoking than Goodnight Moon….I think…yeah, sure…hey, why not…yep. Anyway, let me know.
    Miss you lots!!!
    Love to you and the family,
    p.s. I had to use Garrett’s email address to post, but my email is still the same if you need to contact me.

  2. Supercalafragalistics????? Oh, of course I know what your talking about.

    I miss going to bible study. Maybe someday when I have less kids and more time I’ll be able to dive into deep apologetic discussions.

  3. Sounds great. Let me know what you learn, b/c I feel like my brain is mush. I hope one day to use it again, though, as well!

  4. I think that’s a great idea and you should go for it. I especially like your choice of a possible first book. It’s one that’s been on my shelf for a long time, but I haven’t yet read. Wish I could be a participant as well, but I would look forward to hearing how it goes.

    I should mention that my serious reading increased dramatically when Mark left for college and started challenging me and providing reading materials. Then Jay went off to college and began adding his input as well. To tell the truth, it was a lot easier to do more reading while we were separated from our family members, either by an ocean, a continent, or one or two time zones, and before there were grandchildren. But I much prefer being closer and having less “free” time.

  5. I would love to join you in your reading and discussion. Hopefully some of my brain cells are still firing. This is something I have been wanting to do but know that I would be the last person to actually start it let alone lead it. Thanks Jennifer. Hope it comes to fruition. Know you have a busy life. Joanie Harris

  6. Hi all!

    I am thinking about suggesting this as a summer women’s reading group like I did 2 years ago. So Joanie, if I do that, would you be interested? I was also thinking of doing an on-line discussion group so Michelle and anyone else who might want to could join in from a distance. I’ll keep you posted.

  7. Hey, Jennifer, as my kids would say, you gals rock in that class. The women ask better questions (and answer them) than many men’s studies I’ve been a part of. Stand tall.

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