I am a very protective older brother. I have a teenage sister. She’s doing a summer ministry internship where she got assigned a church to go to. Unfortunately for her, she got assigned to a church where the people are crazy. If you don’t where a dress, head coverings, suit and tie, you’re not welcome. As rigid and judgmental as the dress code is, the teaching, morality and theology of this church is even worse. Recently, I received a phone call from her and she told me about how the sermon was about the roles of men and women in Church. The pastor taught that if a woman thought that she was equal with a man in regards to any form of church leadership or position, she was already in sin. The pastor taught that women need to learn and accept their rightful place in the church, home and society…… Under a man.
This is why Theology matters…. It has the power to devastate people.
One of my best friends is a guy who a few years ago was ready to give up on the Christian faith. When I was first introduced to him, we bonded very quickly. We shared past’s of spiritual abuse and we both affirmed the deep rooted pain that Christian had caused us. The previous years before that, I had begun reading people like N.T Wright, Jurgen Moltmann and Henri Nouwen. As I began to escape the very lifestyle and belief system that had produced so much death, men like these began opening new doors for me, new ways to see God. It had begun producing life in me. It allowed me to reinterpret the Bible. As I had begun finding this new life in the Christian faith, I shared this with my friend. Recently, we had a conversation where we talked about how much change and growth we’ve experienced since we first met each other. We both shared how healing our friendship and these new influences had been on our lives.
This is why Theology Matters…. It has the power to heal people.
One of my favorite Biblical concepts is the self-emptying love that we with Jesus on the Cross. If Jesus is the model in which we are called to live by then we are called to empty of ourselves. As I get older, as I get more gentle, as my heart softens, I find Jesus more and more beautiful. And, my heart longs to give away that beauty. This is why the theology of others sometimes hurts me (like it did my little sister). They know very little of beauty. They know very little of love. They are more consumed with what they understand as Orthodoxy, than they are with actually being transformed by Jesus. Christianity becomes more of an ideological system and morality, than being remade in his image. I know this because I used to turn or burn, repent or perish people in High School. A theology that doesn’t move towards beauty and humility will always produce ugly and arrogant results. This what separates us. This is why we kill each other over theology. And, we feel justified because we believe God is on our side.
This is why theology matters…. It has the power to unite us or divide us.
How we understand theology will dictate how we live now. How we live life now, determines the quality of our life in the future. This is why theology matters.