The following is an excerpt from an article entitled “Keep It Complicated” from the September 9, 2012 posting of the Gospel Coalition Blog, which resonates with CoJ’s rationale for and commitment to Adult Bible Study.
I have often pondered the best-selling book title, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Apparently, given its popularity, a lot of people think it’s the only book they need to read. But I remain unconvinced. All I really need to know? Really? I have found that the dramas of life, the complexities of marriage, the trials of disease, the confusion of evil, the pain of death, the ever-evolving challenges of parenthood, not to mention the wonder of beauty, the joy of music, the blessing of laughter, and all the delights of worship to be just a few of the things my kindergarten teacher left out of the syllabus.
Do I think the lessons I learned in kindergarten were helpful, foundational, crucial building blocks upon which to learn many of the lessons that would follow? Absolutely. Am I thankful for kindergarten? Remarkably.
But am I glad there was also a first grade and a second grade and every other learning experience I’ve encountered since kindergarten? Increasingly so.
If I reflect on this tendency to “keep it simple” vs. “keep it complicated” from a missional perspective, I would have to say, “keeping it simple” hasn’t served the church all that well—at least, not lately. Our world is complex, and people know it. In fact, people love it. They reject (rightly, I believe) simplistic answers to complex questions because those answers haven’t worked. Formulas haven’t helped them make relationships work. Short explanations haven’t helped them grapple with long problems. And the people who insist, “it’s really quite simple” seem to be out of touch with reality.
Maybe we should try to “keep it complicated” because God’s Word and his gospel are complicated—not in the “confusing” sense of complicated but in the rich and beautiful and intellectually fulfilling and aesthetically pleasing and awe-inspiring ways. I think it’s worth the experiment—both for the deepening of our faith and the challenging of our friends’ searches.