Exploring the interplay between ortho-doxy (right belief) and ortho-praxy (right action)...

...and encouraging a life where these intertwined thoughts and deeds simply happen... by default.

17 March 2007

feelings on theology (3-18-07)

Everyone is a theologian.

Theology is simply the 'logic' (thought, ideas, study) of 'theos' (god), and everyone does this. Even atheists, who claim to be quite certain that the idea of god is silly, spend much time, energy and thought trying to demonstrate this - and therefore, I suggest, they engage in theology.

Anyway, some people put theology on a spectrum with something else - like theology on one end and emotions on the other (as if the 'goal' was to stay in the safe 'middle-ground' between the two). This is making less and less sense to me. Are not emotions present in all that we do; and - is not even simple reflection about god at least some form of theology?

Emotions matter. Ideas about god matter. We don't need 50% of each - we need 100% of both.

Having said that, let me be quite clear: I am convinced that emotions (though we need them 100%) cannot be trusted. Sure, feelings are god-given and must not be rejected or disregarded, but were never meant to be relied upon. They are more a 'thermometer' to life than a road-map...

Now, the 'road-map' of theology can also be trusted too much. We can delude ourselves into thinking we have got it all sorted and sussed. If the apostle Paul can say that 'we know in part' (1 Cor. 13) then I think that goes for all of us. But there are certain things (assurance of salvation in Christ alone, the will[desire] of God, etc.) that we can know.

Just as God has given some people more sensitive emotions and feelings, he has given others more critical and thinking minds - and neither is more 'spiritual'! Both must continually strive to use these things for God's glory - because it all matters!

We get this messed up all the time. Some christian communities value feelings/emotions so much that critical thought and discernment goes out the window, while others value theology/'truth' so much that any sign of life or vibrancy is absent.

We must work hard to not be emotion-less or emotional-istic. And we must work hard at theology - because it matters. How we feel and what we think can cause us to do and believe some very interesting (and possibly tragic) things (i.e. - belief that national Israel has to go back into 'the land' and restore the 'temple' before Christ can return can result in indifference to the atrocious militant actions of the nation of Israel against Palestine that seem to clearly go aganst God's will[desire]).

Don't mock people whose emotions are more vibrant than yours. And - don't think for a moment that theology gets in the way of 'real' worship. Instead, love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength... together.

2 comments:

John said...

Everyone is a theologian.

Everyone probably has an opinion about God. The problem as I see it is that very few of us (Christians included) actually take the time to "study" God.

Emotions and feelings do play a huge role in our relationship with God because He is so far above us that really knowing Him is impossible. And that's okay with me. I don't want a God that this feeble mind can understand. That wouldn't be much of a God, would it?

Good stuff, Dale. Wish you would post more often.

dale said...

Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement, John!

The new job is going well, and I've got a few things going at the same time, but am certainly intending to post more often! I've been a bit slack!

Cheers,

-d-