I have to admit, I often feel like an idiot here. I mean, here I am, a graduate student in religious studies, with absolutely no knowledge of religion from a scholarly perspective. Everything I know about religion I learned in Sunday school and on my numerous mission trips. Until now, my religion has been based on my own experiences, my own interpretations of scripture, and what I've read from Christian books that can (sadly) be described as somewhat-less-than intellectual. It has been far more personal than anything else.
The point is that I thought I knew a lot, and, as it turns out, I don't. I know next to nothing of this religion I profess, and even less of the religion that gave birth to it. I sit in these classes, and everyone's discussing pseudepigripha and Maimonedes and Shekhinah, and they all know what they're talking about, and it's taken for granted that I should know too. And I suppose I should, but this is all new to me. Nobody talks about how they feel about God. That's what I'm used to--warm fuzzies and unconditional love, not the transformation of the Ein Sof--or invisible, unknowable, infinite nothingness--into the personal God that interacts and creates.
But this, after all, is why I came. This is exactly what I want, as far behind as I am and as ignorant as I feel. I can no longer satisfy the questions of my intellect with the rhetoric of Wednesday Night Bible Studies or Vacation Bible School. If I am really, truly going to believe what I have always believed, then I need to challenge it, scrutinize it--detach from it even. It's too close for me to see clearly. And here, every day, I feel like I'm taking a step or two back. Whether this will lead to a more focused picture or a more confusing maze I can't yet say.