Absconded in a corner of the library, the parson was reading about the history of several churches in his conference, churches who had been in existence during the expansion of his denomination in the eighteenth century. His study was interrupted.
“Parson, what are you doing here?”
The parson turned to see Emily Watson, the daughter of a dear friend, now a student at the seminary. “I'm just reading up on some church history no one else is interested in,” said the parson. “It's really good to see you. How are your studies coming?”
Emily sighed. “Can I talk with you a minute?”
“Sure,” the parson replied, “have a seat.”
Emily seated herself across the table from the parson. She looked intensely at the parson for a moment then said, “How long does it take to be certain?”
“Certain about what?” the parson asked.
“I'm not sure, Parson. It's just that, well, I'm in my second year now, and it seems the more I learn the more questions I have to ask.” Emily then began to relate her studies of the early theologians, Augustine and others; she talked of the writings of Kant, of Bonhoeffer, of current religious thinkers.
“I read and read but the more I study the more questions I have. I wish, Parson, I could be as certain as you are.”
“You think I'm certain about things?”
“Well, you always seem to have the answers to the questions.”
“Oh, Emily, I don't. I don't. I'm just like you, Emily, every time I turn a page I find a new question.”
“Doesn't that discourage you?”
“Not one bit,” said the parson. “Not one bit. If I had the answer to all the questions I'd no longer be able to marvel at the mystery.”