My first job out of seminary was doing youth ministry at a church outside Chicago. I was nervous moving so far away from home and venturing into ministry. But then something interesting happened.
I was awesome! I can’t begin to tell you how great it felt to know everything. After getting to know the families in that church, I would sit in my office with my feet on the desk and think, “Those parents just need to…”
“You know what the problem is, don’t you? They just need to…”
It was such an easy job.
And then I became a parent. And my children came into the world with their own thoughts, ideas, interests, and opinions. I was such a better parent before I became a parent.
I remember hearing an interview with Mike Ditka. He was asked how he handled the pressure of the media when he was coaching. His response was quintessential Ditka. (Imagine the accent) “You gotta remember. When I was coaching, there weren’t quite as many ‘EXPERTS’ as there are today.”
Experts. There are lots of ’em. Except there aren’t.
The truth is we know very little about how the world works.
My dad was a physicist. He made fiber optic cable. He understood how you could speak into a phone and the sound would be turned into blinks of light. The light would travel through a glass cable, and at the other end would be turned back into sound. And the person not only hears A voice, but THE voice of the person speaking. He tried to explain it to me once. My response? I told him that Woody was the perfect replacement for Coach.
I should claim to be an expert in my own field, but I can’t. The truth is the more I chase after this God the more questions I have. Scripture passages that I have studied for 20 years speak to me differently than they did 20 years ago. I strive to become an expert, but I continue to be a student, and I don’t know that that’s a bad thing.
Experts talk. Students ask questions and listen. Experts have their opinions formed. Students are growing, learning and continually adapting those opinions.
Maybe Ditka was right. Maybe we don’t need so many experts. Maybe we need more students. More people willing to listen to each other. More people understanding that we all have a lot to learn.