Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Big Deal about Theology

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by Laura Springer, M.Div.

When may hear the word “theology,” they instantly think of something lofty and academic, something about as interesting as watching the lawn grow on a Saturday night, or both. Unfortunately, as often presented, these assessments may well apply. This is unfortunate because theology that is true and good is neither lofty nor boring.

The fact is all Christians are theologians and we do theology every day. Theology is simply understanding God in a way that makes sense. We sing theology every Sunday morning. We speak theology when we explain the love of Jesus to a child. We practice theology when we make choices based on Christian values.

Therefore, the issue is not whether any particular Christian is a theologian. Every Christian is a theologian. The issue is whether any particular Christian is an accidental or intentional theologian.

Accidental theologians read the Bible, worship with the church, pray, and try to live in a way that pleases God. But they rarely spend time thinking about these things. They rarely consider how their understanding of God ought to shape these things. They understand God “by accident.”

Intentional theologians read the Bible, worship with the church, pray, and try to live in a way that pleases God. But they go further. They think deeply about these things. They think about life and the beliefs behind and beneath how they live. They intentionally correct their beliefs and make adjustments in how they live because they know that their understanding of God shapes their reading, worship, prayer, and lives. They understand God intentionally.

Be an intentional theologian: read, worship, pray, live, and think.

For more on this topic read

How to Think Theologically, by Howard W. Stone and James O. Duke.