Wednesday, October 24, 2007

From My Theological Journal III

Here is another entry from a journal I kept on my computer last year:

November 2, 2006

Right now I should be writing my paper for Johannine Writings, but I need a break. While I was in the bathroom, I had a thought (who knows how many great ideas throughout history have occurred in the bathroom?). I see a problem with the way contemporary Christian thought is proceeding. We are right in doing theology in the context of the church and for the sake of the church, but I’m not sure we are completely on target. We tend to focus on ecclesiology (which is good considering the contemporary church is in a state of crisis), but what I see an over-abundance of is ecclesiology supported by theology. Instead, it seems like we should be doing theology that results in ecclesiology. I know that the difference between the two is minute (and that perhaps there may be no difference at all), but I feel like we should be doing things differently.

After all, the contemporary church is great at defining itself in terms of being traditional, restorational, purpose-driven, missional, seeker-sensitive, organic, emerging, and countless other things, but we severely lack an understanding of who God is and especially of how God relates to our contemporary, post-modern, secular world. I have to wonder if we could come to a deep understanding of who God is and how he relates to us and then use that understanding as the basis for our ecclesiology. Instead of worrying so much about how to make the church relevant to society, I feel like we should come to a better understanding of how God relates to us (Christian and non-Christian alike). In the current emerging church movement, we seem to be trying to understand God in terms of our society (“What does a post-modern God look like?”). Doesn’t it make just as much (if not more) sense to try to understand our society in terms of God? To be honest, I have no idea what this looks like or how it could be done, but I have an inclination that focusing on God more than the methodology or circumstance is important….
* * * *

I just ran across a scrap of paper that I jotted two things down on a couple of weeks ago. They pertain to Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison, with which I am still becoming acquainted:

“Risk making faith/theology subject to no authority/guidelines: all within oneself”

“[His writings are] Encouraging because I realize that my uncertainty is not only acceptable, but perhaps good. I’ve been swamped down by the feeling of needing to heed to evangelical orthodoxy. Things are figured out for me … but what if I don’t agree?”

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