Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thinking Theologically

Although I say that I am not a theologian, my seminary professor friends persist in saying, “Every believer is a theologian.”  From their perspective, whenever you ask a question that involves faith, your relationship to God, or God’s relationship to the world, you are doing theology.

When my twelve-year-old granddaughter brings up the violence in the television miniseries “The Bible” and I ask her, “How do you handle that?,” I am asking a theological question.  Why does God not only allow violence but, according to the Hebrew Bible, condone it?

We ask theological questions all the time.

First, we ask these questions in the midst of life.  When we encounter pain, death, and violence, we try to make sense of it all and, as religious people, practice this sense-making in the context of our Christian commitment.

Second, we often ask these questions when we experience personal relationships that confuse or hurt us.  When trust is broken, commitment is betrayed, or love is lost, we try to make meaning by turning to our faith.

Third, when we read novels, watch movies and TV shows, or attend plays, we often find ourselves confronted with questions of meaning and purpose that challenge our understanding of fundamental human needs, values, and aspirations.  These are theological questions.

For believers, all of life has theological significance.  Whether we like it or not, by default we are all theologians.  Enjoy the experience!

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