Everybody needs a Christian brother like my friend Nathan. He’s fucking brilliant.
I suppose there are better ways to describe him, but I really like the cadence of the phrase “fucking brilliant”. It’s a good compliment.
Nathan is stationed a few states away right now, and generally the way our friendship works is he will call me in the middle of a nap, and I’ll wake up groggy and generally incoherent. Oooh, I feel a dialogue coming on . . .
Me: Unnnh . . . hello?
Nathan: You! I just had this brilliant spiritual revelation as I was sitting in church / reading Scripture / praying for an hour and I knew you were just the person to call.
Me: Unnnh . . . wow, that sounds pretty cool. What, um–what was it?
Nathan: [insert concise, simple, timely, and applicable spiritual truth here]
Me: Wow, you know what? That’s actually cool. I mean, it’s one of those things you always hear, but you kind of never realize. Thanks for calling me, bro.
Nathan: No problem buddy! Well, I’m going to go call more people and tell them about the power of God! See you later!
Me: Nn-hnnh . . . Yup. See you later. [I then resume napping.]
These revelations usually leave me kind of bewildered and envious of my dear friend’s spiritual state. I mean good grief, I’m a theology major and I never hear stuff put that well in class or read it in books. And usually, it’s a truth that I really need to hear, you know? One that’s really applicable and simple to remember, just the opposite of, say, Rudolph Bultmann or some other chump I have to read.
I’m pretty convinced these days that if a theological truth can’t be explained to your everyday layperson in a way they can understand, it’s no truth at all. I’m with C.S. Lewis: to hold a theology degree, you should be required to “translate” some theological work into plain, everyday English. Writing in theological jargon is fairly easy. Writing in everyday idiom is very difficult.
Thanks be to God for friends like Nathan, who, having ears to hear and eyes to see, understand the greatest truths without even going to school to get them.