In Praise of Theology
Growing up we spent our summers with the Isaac family and Phil Isaac, or Uncle Phil as my sister and I called him, spent hours teaching us to appreciate the natural realm. He would teach us how to identify plants, and interpret tracks. He taught us how to recognize developing weather patterns and how to make clam chowder from the clams we discovered at our favourite beach. When a spring storm pealed back a layer of limestone rock Uncle Phil identified the various fossils in the rock and told us that we were the first eyes to see these creatures as they had no eyes. For a kid who had grown up on stories of people living off the land Uncle Phil was the perfect adult. He was also the Associate Dean of Science at the University of Manitoba and a plant physiologist. When I went to university I wanted to be like him, combining the academic study of nature with the naturalist’s love of the outdoors.
Then I discovered theology. In my first year at the University of Winnipeg I took Introduction to the Bible with Carl Ridd. I still remember the paper I wrote on the Abrahamic covenant for Carl’s class. It was due at the beginning of December and I handed it in at the beginning of March. For months I had been immersed in a hundred years of interpretation of the book of Genesis. I had learned about source criticism and textual manuscripts and Biblical archaeology. It was fascinating to follow debates about how to interpret a particular verse and to see them in the bigger context of debates over how to approach Genesis. Needless to say, my science courses suffered and the following year I returned to university as a religious studies major.
In my second year I took “Western Thought in the Making: Christian Bases” from Ken Hamilton. My first paper was on...(read the whole thing here)