At a previous church, I had a podcast called Scripture Talk. We had a bunch of us preaching on the same text every Sunday, so we would gather on a Monday evening and talk through our initial thoughts on the week’s Scripture. It’s something that we would probably of done anyways, so we pointed microphones and cameras at ourselves and turned it into content. Most of us on the show were seasoned veterans. When I started the shows, I had been a week in, week out preacher for five years. Scott had been doing some kind of ministry; since, he was a teenager. Sister Brandy had been raised in the church and had many years of teaching, preaching, and leading Bible Studies under her belt. Our producer, Stacy, on the other hand, came to Christ in his late 40s, shortly before joining the show. Scott and I both had formal, university level training in Biblical Studies. Brandy exudes a level of spiritual connection that’s so powerful, she turned her job at Walmart into an evangelism opportunity. Stacy often had more questions than answers and was hearing a lot of the material and concepts for the first time. The new Christian on a show with three career theologians sounds like an odd fit. Certainly, Stacy’s view of the Bible and the world starkly contrasted with the rest of us. However, far from making him the odd man out, he made the show work because the faith is not just the domain of the wise.

Scott, Brandy, and I would have made great Corinthians. We often read the Bible as if everything is serious and sweet. Paul’s correspondence with the church in Corinth is serious but isn’t sweet. At points, he’s fairly upset with that church, and our selection from 1 Corinthians 1 exemplifies that. They’ve gotten some teacher coming through that made them feel smart, sophisticated, and superior. The Corinthians seem to desperately desire to see themselves as more special that other Christians, that they’re way of practicing the faith doesn’t just works for them but that It’s the only correct way to do it. They want to know that their wisdom, sophistication, and speaking tongues show their superior faithfulness, and they’ve picked sides as to what teachers deliver these particular results. Paul writes to them looking to bring them back down to earth.

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18 NRSV)

The basic message of the Good News confounds the wise in its simplicity and its miraculous nature. Know Christ, and you know God. Know God, and you know salvation. Let God work on your from there. That’s it. One line of “wise” arguments yell that it cannot be that simple. We must have more steps, more shades of meaning, more specific ways of doing it. We must build elaborate rules and structures! Christ came to cut through all of that, and Paul knows it. The Gospel shouldn’t tickle the ears of the sophisticated. Read any of Paul’s writing, and you’ll quickly learn that he’s at least as smart as the rest of them. He sees the elegant simplicity in what God has done.

The other “wise” argument centers on the inherent impossibilities. Men don’t rise from the dead. A man cannot be both fully human and fully divine. Three things cannot be one thing. Virgins don’t give birth. Medicine, logic, math, and reproduction simply cannot work that way! The wise are much more likely to unable to accept where God chooses to break the rules. They think that they’ve cleared the universe of its mysteries. They struggle when God shows up with further mysteries.

I keep using, “they,” but as I mentioned above, I’d fit well into this camp too. I love being an academic theologian. I found God in pondering dusty tomes. I’m naturally a skeptic, who had to learn the value of mystery and not being able to know everything. Plus, I sure do like looking smart in public.

Hence why Stacy played such an essential role on that show, he wondered about what normal people wondered about – rather than what theologians wonder about. He knew that he didn’t have all the answers and would be processing new information live on air. We needed that foil. Were our deep and often heady discussions of Scripture edifying to the listener? I sure hope so because we did that show for four years. Did it need a person who could bring back down to earth and remind us that it’s not so darn complicated? Yes, it absolutely did. The burden of would be wisdom will make fools of us all.