The Pastor/Papa (n) is still (adv) learning (v)

Last night my wife was going over grammar homework with my eight year old.  Mind you that I am usually happy to help with homework, but grammar is not my strong suit.  I am the guy who regularly got a B- in high school English (an “A” in literature and, let’s just say, less in grammar).  I am the guy who heard the words of terror in seminary, “Oh don’t worry, you’ll do fine in Hebrew and Greek as long as you remember your high school grammar.”   I am the guy who has a good friend who tells me I would strengthen my sermons if I used less statives in them.  The first time he told me that, I had no clue what he was talking about.

Just to establish the setting for you, last night my wife was quizzing my eight year old for a test he will take today.  “What is the predicate?” “What is the simple subject?”, “What is the “complete predicate?”  I actually could follow it all but I was thinking that at his age, I would have been lost in the woods.  I made it through high school, college, and even graduate school by applying grammar as it sounded right. But I couldn’t exactly explain what I was doing.  By the time I was going through seminary I maintained a fairly high GPA (my high school teachers would never have believed it).   I always assumed that I had mastered English enough that I didn’t need all that grammar nitty gritty after all.  But then, I met my wife and good friend who both gently let me know that my grammar is on-par with my singing voice (in other words all too often, not so hot).

What does this all have to do with faith?  I wonder how many people in this world take the same approach to faith that I have with grammar all of my life.  We stop the formal learning.  We know it is somewhat important but we have a “self taught” curriculum.  We master it to a degree.  But perhaps we could go further if we didn’t let the formalities scare us.  There are so many people out there that have a natural curiosity, maybe even a tendency, toward spiritual questions and spiritual matters, but they don’t regularly go to church or discuss it in beyond their circle of friends.  That is a loss on both sides.

My goal as a father is to “keep up” with my son with his grammar and re-learn what I never learned before.  If I pace with him as he is learning predicates and subjects, perhaps I won’t be so lost when topics like gerunds, past participles, and statives come up.  And I will continue to think about, as a pastor, how I might re-interest those who have drifted away from the church.  We live in such a crucial age.  It’s never too late to start.

What do you think?

Until next time,

Tom

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2 thoughts on “The Pastor/Papa (n) is still (adv) learning (v)

  1. naming words, describing words, doing words……the basis of my grammar until I studied Latin at high school – then I really learned about it!

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