For some–perhaps most–of the readers of this blog, a time exists in your past when “thinking” and “believing” weren’t the most comfortable of companions. Many of us raised as Protestants in the U.S. (and particularly its southern regions) consumed in church a rich feast of emotion, and a thin gruel of intellect. It was impossible to “feel” your faith too much, but it was a dangerous possibility to think about it too much.

The discovery in college that it didn’t have to be this way was one of the most joyous of my life. There I encountered other Christians, both of this generation and previous ones, for whom the search to better understand their faith was the principal way they expressed their love of God. Since then I’ve been to seminary, and I’ve completed a Ph.D. in church history and historical theology; I’ve taught layfolk, college, and seminary students; and I’ve been a theological books editor for more than 20 years. In all of these things, I’ve continued the search I began as a college student: to better understand, and hence better live, the Christian faith.

This blog, and the Sunday School class of the same name (“Thinking and Believing”) I teach at Christ UMC in Franklin, TN, are an invitation to join me on that search. Here I’ll share preliminary thoughts on what I’ll be teaching in the class this week, as well as other unscheduled musings. We’ll deal with theological ideas, biblical studies, film, literature, politics and public life, and any one of a number of other pursuits that belong to human life as it encounters the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you find these things helpful in your own search for God, then please feel free to drop in on us, either in the class, or here in the blog.

Bob Ratcliff


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