I Am a Theologian

Captain’s Log    5,916

Who knew the Post Office would deliver packages at 6:30 in the morning?  I was lying in bed thinking about basically nothing when I heard a THUMP on the sidewalk.  THUMP?  I assumed someone may have tossed a bag of dog poop over the fence.  Or maybe the horrendous San Diego Union Tribune newspaper was giving me another free copy to entice me to subscribe.

It was a definite THUMP.  So I got up to see……..and there…..wrapped up in a pretty blue mailing envelope…..was my theologian hoodie!  I am hanging it up to get the new hoodie stinky smell out of it.

theologian s

An agnostic theologian?

Theology has nothing to do with believing in God.  It’s simple.  Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief.  Not a word about believing any of it.  I became an agnostic in college.  I also became a baby theologian then.  The more I studied and learned about religious belief, the more distant I became.  When my advisor told me how close I was coming to getting a minor in theology (needed like 2 more classes), I decided to go for it.  I have always been fascinated with the ideas of religious beliefs.  I like know why people believe what they do – and when they started believing it.  I also love theological arguments.  But they must be arguments.  I cannot abide people who believe something “just because.”  That’s not a reason.

I even worked in a church for almost 10 years, never fully onboard with all the God stuff.  It was a very non-specific church that embraces all different philosophies, so it was easy to slip the issues.  Nobody ever challenged me.  Even when I was pretty obvious in some of the classes I took.  Nobody ever asked me.  Everyone assumed.  I understand the need for churches and spiritual community.  I support the work that good churches do for its members and for the bigger world.  I was a youth director and a community development person.  I was good at building that church.  I believed in what I was doing, but I still wasn’t hooking on to the God train.  Nobody noticed.  My work spoke for itself.

And then the day came where the ministerial team wanted me to become more “enlightened” and move into a more professional level of spirituality.   I argued against it.  I said that enlightenment is not something you learn, it’s something you either have or you don’t.  It’s like rhythm.  Studying enlightenment all day is just study.  It is not going to make me enlightened.  I also argued that forcing someone to study professionally is not right for everyone.  I specifically asked if it was in my job description.  It was not.  I asked if I would lose my job if I did not comply.  I was assured that my position at the church was safe and secure.  

I was let go without notice two weeks later.  Pack your shit and leave.  No closure.   Bye bye.

As bitter and disappointing as that was, I came out of the misery a much stronger person.  I am proud that I stood up for myself.  I know I am often the oddball, and I am okay with that.  I learned to forgive those people.  I don’t want to know them or be friends with them, but I am okay with it.  I have found my peace.

There are people who would say that when I talk about the church……that I am not at peace with it.  It was ten years of my life.  It was a significant job.  So yes, I talk about it.  That doesn’t mean I run around hating people or feeling sorry for myself.  Every time I examine the experience, I love myself a little more.

Yup.  An agnostic theologian.  I have paid my dues.  I deserve the title.

16 Comments

Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

16 responses to “I Am a Theologian

  1. poundheadhere

    Interesting way to put things. I can’t live within the restrictions of traditional religion. I’ve come to realize that all religion is how a particular man or men interprets information about God that was written by a man or men. Not much to recommend that, is there?

  2. Great entry. You should have thousands of readers for this one. Thanks for thinking, but even more thanks for teaching, for company at breakfast, and all your extended family. 🙂 Youse is a proper Theologian living life as an example. Keep talking.

  3. Ter

    This is amazing! I may have to flatter you through imitation 😉

  4. Joanie B

    I was brought up Catholic but I think I may have been excommunicated a long time ago, which I think means they don’t communicate with me any more to ask for money to pay for pedophile priest’s attorneys, so it’s not all bad. Sorry, no offense to all my Catholic friends. I also think arguing about religion is an effort in futility because nobody can prove the existence of anything that we can’t see, hear, smell, taste or touch so nobody can ever win the argument, which is the whole idea of a debate about anything, and it also tends to start wars,, so I just usually don’t do it. Oh, except for all those people who claim to have already clinically died and have come back to tell us all about it. That’s a whole different story. Is there an icon for tongue-in-cheek?

  5. Patty O'

    A nonobservant Jew is still a Jew. A non-practicing Catholic is still a Catholic. We all grow up with some sort of cultural tradition and family religious beliefs no matter how casual or serious they are as a component of that. But it does NOT mean we have to believe it. That is a matter of conscience and intellectual integrity. I also believe that those who have questioned such belief have put a great deal more thought into it than those who swallow it whole-cloth. It is called spiritual integrity. I hope I have it. I know that you do.

  6. What you are is a sociologist, along with a theologian. It’s where I come to many of the same conclusions, although I am still a believer.

    When you meet a Jewish person who does not go to synagogue but observes Rosh Hashanah by spending a day’s pay on supplies for the food bank, do you reprimand her or admire her?

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