Every so often theology gets under my skin. I know it should bother me more often, but it doesn’t. I like to discuss theology… to a point. I like certain topics more than others. I like to talk about God’s love more than God’s wrath, for example. But most often I find the discussions are depressing.
One of my professors said that we’re all theologians. I understand what he was saying, but I still wanted to jump out a window. While I like to discuss theology, I’m not one of those people that claim to be a theologian or even the son of a theologian. Sometimes talking about theology seems so far from where I live.
I know, I know, any time we talk about God we ‘re theologizing. Seriously, I get it. However, often in the midst of a heated discussion, I’m prone to make silly comments about trying to figure out if God really made bananas to prove that He is our Creator. Yep, I said ‘he’. This is where the whole thing breaks down.
You may ask, “David, how can you ascribe a gender identity to a God that transcends gender?” And I will respond, “Are you asking me if I think that God is ‘trans-gender’?” See? Hopeless, I know.
What bothers me about theology is that I get caught up in so many things that might be important but aren’t that important. What theory of atonement do I ascribe to? Do humans have free will? Am I young earth or old earth? Is God unable to stop evil from happening? Does God give us free will to choose good or evil? Or, does God cause these things happen for the greater good that will make perfect sense to us later?
“Oh! That’s why that airliner crashed killing all 482 people on board. That makes perfect sense.”
I tend to think about theology not so much as a question to be answered but a life to be lived. While it is really fun to talk about world hunger over dinner, or the lack of clean drinking water at the splash park, I think of theology as an action to be taken.
If someone is hungry, feed them. If someone is homeless, shelter them. If someone has wronged us, forgive them. If someone is awkward, accept them. After we do all those things, we can talk about why these things happen.
In John 9, the disciples see a man born blind and ask, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” They wanted to discuss a theological question. Jesus’ didn’t answer the question, he enacted a solution. In the process, he answered the question.
Maybe that’s the difficulty for me about theological discussions. They can turn into debates that forget that people are attached to the questions.
So what is the best way to answer a question of theology? Action.