Colossian Blog
June 28, 2017 | Trey Tirpak

Why are You Interning Here? Formation.

Information. We love it, don’t we? Just pull out your phone and explore a sea of facts and tales about the universe we inhabit. But navigating this sea of information has become quite a haunting endeavor.

For so much of my life, I’ve been driven by the narrative that “if we just get the right facts – the right information – and put it in order, then we can fix things” or “if we just put our minds to the task then we can fix things.”

This narrative also has an ultimate source where we get all the right “facts” from: the Bible. The best news about this source is that it’s simple; what we need to know is what the Bible says, plain and simple.

There’s a long list of how this narrative is chock-full of truth while at the same time chock-full of misleading, secular/modern belief about the Bible and the God of it, our world, and ourselves.

So, like many Christians who are seeking to navigate these seas well, I was asking questions like: What is truth? What is real? What is good? What is beautiful?  

But the haunting thing for me is that so many answers to those questions are determined by how I’ve been formed as a person, and so I have to first ask about how to ask methodological questions.

Like any discipline, there’s a method (a way) to inquire, investigate, inspect that’s proper, appropriate, and fitting. So, I’ve been finding myself asking questions like “what is faithful discernment?” or “what is the way that I’m going to take to answer these questions?”

It’s a good task, but also a hard one, which is how I’ve come to The Colossian Forum.

It’s discernment that draws me into The Colossian Forum, faithful discernment. You see, at The Colossian Forum, we know that the work of being a prudent, discerning Christian isn’t merely about gathering all the right information and all the right facts. Rather, it must first and foremost be about formation: who we are and who God is forging us to be. Only then can we truly address, answer, and faithfully discern questions.

What I’ve realized so far is that, in my theological journey, formation is what’s been left out of the conversations. The incarnational indwelling of the Spirit and what he is actively doing in my life has not been considered in my conversations or even considered valid. I’ve just been relying on my reasoning and my opinions and my vision of “how things are suppose to be” not even realizing how significantly these things have been formed in me by an outside world or how my disposition totally leaves God out of the picture. 

It’s because of realizing that I was my own idol – that it is my reasoning and my intellect and my vision of how things are supposed to be – that I’ve become convinced that I haven’t actually been having Christian, Christ-like conversations, and that I need to start practicing having authentically Christian discourse, especially when it comes to discerning things about the topics that The Colossian Forum engages.

So formation is why I am interning here, and why I’ve come to cherish The Colossian Forum. TCF practices faith, hope, and love, not merely thinks about them. So, if you’re wondering what it might mean to step out in faith and discern things, come join the ship that’s trying to navigate these waters.

To be theological is not just about being intellectual. It’s also about our heart. Theology is something that’s not just in my head it’s what I live…” Rev. Wayne Coleman, Millbrook CRC, Grand Rapids, MI

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Born and raised on O’ahu Hawai’i, Trey Tirpak graduated from Calvin College in May 2017 with a B.A. in Religion while minoring in Congregational and Ministry Studies in Community Development and Pastoral Ministry. He is attending Western Theological Seminary in Holland Michigan, and is pursuing a Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Social Work (MSW) while also seeking ordination in the Reformed Church in America (RCA). Trey is interning this summer at The Colossian Forum.

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