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Monday, June 26, 2006

Theological Struggle

I have been trying to get to grips with theology. I have always been an avid reader and have had a special interest in theology since encountering it during my Bachelor of Ministry degree. At that time we only scratched the surface but it was sufficient for me to realise that it was an area that held wide possibilities to engage my mind. I finished my degree at the end of 2003 and since then have explored, in a general way, a number of theologians including Moltmann, Bultmann, Kierkegaard and Barth.

Recently I have decided to get to grips with theology at a deeper level. Someone on the Moltmann email list suggested that I choose one theologian and study them thoroughly and then branch out from that point. With this advice in mind I have returned to "The Spirit of Life" by Juergen Moltmann and I am wading through it with a view to tackling three other of his books that I have sat on my bookcase.

The reason that I mention all of this is that I do not want to come across as anything that I am not. My chief desire as a Christian is to engage my faith with my life. I desire to study theology because I find it challenging and fulfilling but there must always be points of engagement with my life. I enjoy being with non-Christian people because they challenge my assumptions and they have a habit of turning around my faith statements and help me to explore further possibilities for God's engagement with His world.

One of the difficulties that I have with the Church generally is a preoccupation with easy answers. I have met too many non-Christians who have confirmed this theory to deny its validity. Of course, easy answers allow us to ignore the deeper needs of people and allow us to adopt an "I told you so" approach to counseling, care and friendships.

The other end of the spectrum, viewed in a simple manner, is the preoccupation with difficult questions and verbose answers; namely, the world of academia. As a part of this journey I am reaching out to academics for inspiration and advice and I seeking to stretch my thinking through reading at a higher level but I am continually brought back to the question of relevance.

Jesus taught his disciples (and I include modern-day Christians in this group) to do such things as ; love their neighbour, make disciples of all people, teach and basically demonstrate the kingdom of God upon the earth. The point I wish to make, without avoiding anything, is that we can debate the finer points of Jesus' commands to His disciples at the end of Matthew and Mark. We can discuss what Jesus meant when He commanded them to teach and whether He meant just the disciples and whether it now means simply ordained clergy.

At some point each Christian person has to decide whether we are prepared to get off our backsides and make a difference in this world. If we answer positively we then need to consider how we will best serve God. We need to develop such a love for God that we are compelled to live this out in some way.

I have not stopped talking about my new son. How much more should I be sharing about the one who is my saviour and redeemer. There are no easy answers and there seem to be far too many convoluted answers. Thelogical reflection that does not interact with the world where each Christian finds themselves may not be truly Godly reflection because God is love.

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