The Ology7:30 AM
What comes to mind when you hear "theology"?
"Uh oh, another discussion way over my head."
"Please, let's talk about something unifying for once."
Theology presents an understandable boredom block and brain shutdown for the average Christian layperson. It is neither quick nor easy nor altogether interesting at first blush. Not only does one have to learn terms like credobaptism or sola fide, one must also wade through such words as exegesis, efficacious and anathematize to even begin to enter into the discussion. Works that are thorough are dull; works that are witty are insiders' business; works that are moderate leave questions unanswered.
That is understandable. The lukewarm daily devo sounds very sweet to an overloaded brain. And sometimes I wish theologians would plaster warning stickers over works containing big words. (Insert corny "it's Greek to me" joke.)
To that I say, buck up and take it like a Christian. Apparently, the Word Hoarders cornered the market on deep things. It would naturally follow that bigger ideas require bigger words. How else do we learn chemistry, without element, fluoride and calorimeter? How else do we learn English, without present partciples and metonymy? How else do we learn geometry, without theorem and polygon?
Christianity, like any language, like any study, has a grammar and a vocabulary. Ignorance of terms should be expected.
What I cannot understand is Christian anti-theologianism (my word, though it wouldn't surprise me if it's an actual ism). The thought goes that emphasis needs to be on evangelism, on unity. It's said that it's more important to live and preach the Gospel, to live a good life, to actually have a relationship with God. Or if it's not said, it's implied. When was the last time your Sunday school studied church doctrine? When was the last time your Sunday school studied a Christian's approach to lying or fear or immorality?
Actually, I agree that we need to present a united front. And I think it's absolutely essential that we focus on being a Christian and knowing God than knowing about being a Christian and knowing about God. But even if one's focus is divisive or empty, it isn't theology's fault. It's the empty-hearted Christian's.
If our focus is on unity and knowing God, then we have absolutely no excuse not to study theology -- and indeed, that goal of true communion with God and with others will bring to life what otherwise seems stuffy. If one wants any knowledge at all -- any basic sort of knowledge -- studying theology is the way to go. It's the ology of all other ologies, the basis for all living and thinking.
And since I see most of you either stifling yawns or raising eyebrows, I shall stop. But don't stop thinking. And do tell me what you think. Is theology the ology of your life?