The best one-word description of my experience with theology before taking the class would be “academic”. Having grown up in church, which included participation in Awana from kindergarten through high school, and attending a Christian school through 8th grade, I had a lot of knowledge ingrained into me. I was an older teen before I first heard that Jesus wanted a relationship with me. (I was saved as a young child). I was in my 20s when I realized how Pharisaical I was; stuffing my head with knowledge will do that. I spent the next 15+ years struggling between legalism and grace and how to make that transition.
This class has contributed to bridge the gap between knowledge and practical application in my life. It has helped me translate what is in my head into something I can verbalize better. I have been challenged to memorize Scripture more, leading to deeper meditation of Scripture. The Case Studies are practical. In our small group, we have talked about having similar conversations with friends and family. These exercises allow me to work through scenarios ahead of time so hopefully I can verbalize to others how God has worked in my life. There have been many times I have been silent due to my lack of confidence in how to speak truth into situations, which are missed opportunities.
Another area I have been challenged is the Christian disciplines of the Sabbath, Silence and Solitude, and Fasting. I knew Jesus participated in these disciplines, but understanding why he did them helps me understand why I need to incorporate them in my life.
This would benefit anyone, no matter where they are spiritually. It is a “no judgement zone” and a positive environment for learning.