Chapel-Hating, Christian Education, Pastors and Theology, and Sucking at Calling or: All My Frustrations With Pastoral Types in One Easy Article!

Last week was Convocation. Now, I have been exempt from Convocation for the last two or three Convocation weeks. I play bass and sing in a worship band, and we have played Sunday and Wednesday night services and practiced every Monday night [and sometimes Tuesday nights] every week for nearly three years. The same is true of Convocation week, so I simply filed an exemption form for playing in the band.

However, I was involved in a huge Convocation/chapel argument during Convocation week. This argument centered on a pastoral major, a theology major, and myself. The pastoral major ranted on and on, ad hominem attacking Theology majors and making sweeping generalizations about Theology majors and chapel. The theology major simply defended himself and his fellow majors against the illogical attacks. I stepped in and attempted to do the same. It is from this conversation that I will make the following four points concerning chapel and Convocation, gleaned from this conversation and from personal experience.

Hating chapel is neither wholly inclusive of nor wholly exclusive to Theology majors.

People from every major on campus hate chapel. Then again, people from every major on campus also love chapel, including Theology majors. It is unfair, and the logical fallacy of apriorism to suggest that only or all Theology majors hate chapel. Simultaneously, it is simply bad argumentation to say or suggest that pastoral majors are any different from Theology majors in that respect, and to attempt to put oneself on a high horse by default.

You can't trust everything you hear. Examine the Scripture and things that speakers say for yourself.

Do you really expect that every single chapel message [or ANY message, for that matter] is perfect and free from error of any kind? If so, you are supremely näive. This is not a reflection on any particular speaker or chapel voice. This is simply a reflection on human nature. Check things for yourself. You'll be a better Christian for it, and a more educated one at that. Wait, we came to a Christian college for education on Christian matters? Who knew!?

What comes next is one of the major things that annoys me about overzealous Christian leaders.

You have to have theology to be successful as a pastor.

One of the participants in this conversation insisted that he didn't care about theology or the personal viewpoints or opinions of the other parties involved. I find that this attitude of "I don't care about theology, I just love Jesus!" pervades not only some pastoral majors at Lee but also lots of Christians at Lee in general. How often do you see statements printed online like:

"It's a relationship not a religion!!!"

"I just love JESUS! The other stuff's not important!"

"I don't worry about all that theology crap... just believe and it all works out!"

These types of ideas sound great, and their meaning is not all bad. What they mean is that Christianity is not just a checklist religion where you "do what you're told" and just "be a good boy." It comes from "Christians" who if asked, call themselves Christian, but live however they want and are only nominally Christians. It's about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Point taken.

That being said, how are you going to be in a relationship with Jesus if you don't do anything to find out about him? Study him? Learn about him? Read the instruction manual he gave you in the form of the Bible? Don't try to hide your intellectual laziness as "enlightenment" in the form of relationship.

You can be called to something and still suck at it.

Evangelical Christians throw around "God called me to do X" like the latest free candy at Halloween. But honestly, being "called" to something does not make you automatically amazing at it.

I'm a pretty good video editor and media guy. But do you think I just said "God has called me to be a video guy" and just "believed" in myself to be good at it? No. It takes more than that. I have spent more hours on Final Cut than I can care to remember or keep track of. I have done more projects that I've forgotten about than I could even dig up on old hard drives and DVD's. I've spent TIME doing my craft, and practicing to become excellent at what I do. That includes classes and time spent on my own, just doing my thing. That doesn't even mean I'm a professional, either - I still have plenty of room for improvement.

Do you really think that pastoring, or psychology, or baseball, is any different?

Can you be a good pastor without training? Can you be called to be a pastor and be automatically good at it? Can you be called to play baseball and automatically be as talented as No. You have to spend time in your craft, practicing, taking classes, doing what you do. It is necessary. You can't just hide behind your calling and use it as a reason to suck at what you do.


Those are my major annoyances with chapel arguments, and also a summary of the argument which occurred this past week. Hopefully it has given you something to think about.

But hey, maybe God's just called you to not think and just believe?