Theology With a Limp

Normally I’ve been attempting to post every Saturday, but because of my move back to Chicago for another school term, my readjusting to a new schedule, and the need to do homework before writing I’ve fallen behind. I will be doing my best to continue to post every Saturday from here on out…but no promises.

What I really want to talk about is theology. Theology being the study of God. This can take a lot of different avenues and be pursued in a number of different ways. But I really want to talk about theology for the Christian, and more specifically how to go about it. This week I will talk about the mindset I believe is necessary to have when approaching this task, and next week I will give my central rule whenever I am considering any part of theology.

I am currently in my third year of bible college and this environment is extremely unique. The bible college I attend only offers degrees that will prepare its students for vocational ministry. That means that you cannot attend this school and get a degree in business, accounting, or anything of the sort. The people who I share this campus with are looking to do ministry vocationally after graduation. We are the future leaders of the church…and we are sometimes (dare I say often) arrogant.

It probably comes to no surprise that there are a lot of opinions when it comes to theology. Some of them are more hot button topics than others. While some people get into heated discussions over what politician should be voted for (although that does happen here), we debate over things like the nature of free will, the age of the earth, if women can be pastors, and if people’s eternal destinies are predestined by God. (Sounds like a lot of fun right?)

Amidst all the discussions that have gone on around me I have come to hold one thing as extremely important. Good theology limps. I’ve stollen this phrase from Austin Fischer (Who has a pretty sweet blog himself. You can check it out here). What I mean by that is theology, when done right, will not contain a whole lot of boasting and chest beating, but rather a whole lot of humility. We are a limited people tackling the task of trying to understand a God who is anything but limited. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

Talking about God is good, I even think it’s important (you can ask the people close to me who have to hear me talk about it all the time). I just want to make sure I approach it with the right attitude. I want people to realize that we don’t know it all and that we are not on a mission to prove others wrong, but rather to grow alongside them. If we aren’t willing to admit that we could be wrong in an area, that could be incredibly dangerous.

When I discuss things with my peers I try my best to let go of my desire to be correct and trade it in for the desire to grow. If I don’t enter a discussion being okay with changing my mind and siding with them, then I’m not sure I am ready to have that conversation. Not that I have to agree with them, but if we both are already planted and not willing to move then there is little ground to be gained by discussion.

When dealing with these sort of things let’s be humble and gentle in heart. Let’s look to grow and not be right. Let’s have a theology that isn’t boastful and proud but a theology that is meek. A theology that doesn’t swagger. A theology that limps.


Image by Elliot Bennett via flickr

 

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Curtis Snell

I am first and foremost someone who is trying to follow the example and teachings of Jesus. I serve on the pastoral staff of a church in Iowa and I love writing, reading, and my dog Pepper.

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