‘Gutless B ..!’ (author unknown)

If you are setting out to be trained as a follower of Jesus Christ, beware the overeducated paranoia of Western Christendom, which can easily imprison Jesus in another kind of Nazareth and make him a prophet without honour in the home town of your carefully managed soul: a soul whose most exciting memories will be made in classrooms, facilitated by a teacher who unwittingly robs it of delightful journeys down the road of the ‘everywhere-present magic’ of Divine mysteries outside the classroom. The hall-mark of such a classroom-blessed or classroom-intimidated faith is that it does not expect to learn or to engage in personal faith-risks outside the safety of the talking room and consequently rarely experiences the pains and joys that go with the long (and unsupervised) expeditions of a curious and youthful mind into the scriptures, or the late-night adrenaline rush of a sharp (and unsupervised) exchange with a well educated scholar who is brimming with alcohol, antagonism and answerless questions. It is on such occasions that a young student of holiness and grace gets bruised and humbled and has their appetite truly whetted for the mystery of co-operating with—and being used by—the Holy Spirit in the work of communicating hope, love and faith. Without such experiences, you (the questing student) will develop a faith that resembles a boy with no love for exploring rivers because he’s never been allowed to dive in without an accompanying host of floaties, safety ropes, life-savers, advisors and parents—and to make matters worse you may find that you have no real affection for your fellow human beings who are so beloved of their Maker. And the great irony here is that the very same bible teachers, mentors and preachers who imprisoned you in their classrooms will be the first to criticise you for your lack of enthusiasm for dangerous places of God-adventure.