Have you ever had someone explain something to you and after they were finished, you were just as confused as you had been before?
Ever listened to speakers who were so eloquent, you wondered whether their professional time was spent browsing through a dictionary? Sometimes has morning worship been punctured by preachers who knew it all so well, and told it all in such big sounding words, that you were left clutching at a remote straw?
Christian theology has its roots in deep centuries of struggle and controversy. To the student, every word must be honed and spelled out carefully, lest it lead people astray.
And yet, must we always deal with "redemption" and "salvation" and being "born again" and "washed in the blood" and seek for the "propitiation of our sins"? Are terms like "remission" and "contrition" and "sanctification" and "expiation" and "regeneration" so significant that we must confuse the simple of heart?
And do we not sometimes "cast our pearls before the swine" (as suggested in the Scriptures), by taking something so sacred and making it a thing to be scoffed at by those who have no acquaintance with the terms?
Don't get me wrong. Every word just suggested has a history of meaning and significance in the world of Christian theology. These words have been a light in the darkness for many searching souls.
But wouldn't it be wonderful if we could proclaim the wonderful Gospel we hold in such simple terms, that even a child might understand?
Last year, while traveling in the South, I saw a road sign reading "Tank and Tummy" along the expressway. Then came the directions: 2 miles ahead, turn left.
To the weary traveler, that sign left no question. Gas for the car and food for the body. And this is really the simple message of the Christian faith as well ... there is spiritual fuel and nourishment for all who turn to the Lord.
Maybe it is time to leave the legal wrangling to the seminaries and the courtrooms, and listen to the silent plea of the millions about us who are saying, "Give us the bread of life, because our hearts are hungry and thirsty for the love of God."
Francis Guither, a pastor for 46 years, is the author of seven books. Guither is retired and lives in Quincy at Good Samaritan Home with his wife Katharine. His most recent church was Carthage United Methodist.