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Deadworm

Theologically, I'm a rather odd duck!

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I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where I lived until I graduated from university (BA--Philosophy major) and then moved to the USA to attend Fuller Seminary.  Fuller is one of the more liberal evangelical seminaries, but I found it too intellectually narrow and oppressive.  I had enrolled there for 2 reasons: (1) to explore my interest in becoming a Theology professor; (2) to seek solutions to my many doubts about the Bible, God, and Christianity.  My honest questions in class were not appreciated because of their skeptical tone; so after one year, I transferred to Princeton, where I got my MDiv, and then got a doctorate at Harvard in New Testament, Judaism, and Greco-Roman backgrounds.  I was a Teaching Fellow for a couple of years for a Harvard Divinity Masters course in New Testament and for a Harvard undergraduate Classics course.  Then for 12 years I became a tenured Theology professor at a Catholic University.  I then decided to become a United Methodist pastor (with a 3 1/2 year interval as a UCC interim pastor) first in western New York and then in northeast Washington, where I wanted to live closer to my elderly (and now deceased) parents in Kelowna, BC, Canada.  I retired from my UMC pastorate in July, 2015.

Now a little on my spiritual journey.  I was raised in the first Pentecostal church in Canada and my father was a TV Gospel singer.  That church experience was both negative and positive, negative in the sense that I soon rebelled against their Fundamentalist legalism and uncritical attitude towards the Bible and, positive in the sense that it led me into powerful spiritual and paranormal experiences that kept my fragile faith quest alive (speaking in tongues, prophetic inspiration, "words of knowledge" [including premonitions], etc.)

This mix of starkly different spiritual pit stops has made me a theologically odd duck!  I consider myself a kind of walking theological zoo without a cage, who emits liberal charismatic evangelical vibes.  I have explored various conservative Christian websites, but ultimately feel uncomfortable there because I no longer embrace a so-called "high view of Scripture.   If I had to express a spiritual motto, it would probably be Billy Graham's maxim, "Theological understanding is the booby prize.  Most believers have just enough spirituality tin inoculate them against the real thing."   By "the real thing" he meant life-changing spiritual experiences  as opposed to rigid doctrinal systems. 

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Deadworm,

Sounds to me like you are dead on. 🙂 pun intended. Welcome and if you are an odd duck them i am your companion. Enjoyed reading and relating to your entire post. Wife is calling me to dinner so will check in again later. Thanks for the inspiring post.

Joseph

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Welcome to the forum Deadworm, and I hope you enjoy the participation and archives here.

Cheers

Paul

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