Well, the previous blog set a new standard in suck-ery. Good thing no one reads this anymore.
I’ve had a few theological thoughts ruminating in my head over the past few weeks, a lot of which involving remembering the journey of the past few years. Many of my closer blog friends know that atonement theories (i.e., how the “problem” of the world was solved by Jesus), re-thinking about sin, Pauline thought, dualism, the nature of the Trinity, and the resurrection have all been “hot topics” for me. They have been, because I feel like they really matter to talk about. I mean, I know theology is supposed to be boring, esoteric, and ultimately useless navel-gazing by academicians needing something to put in a dissertation. But, maybe I’ve been deluded, but I actually think it matters to think about big topics like this. I know that theology comes from life, and so trying to make “meta-categories” like “Trinity” and “Sin” is at best an overgeneralization of experiences and at worst a tool of oppression leading to the death of individual (marginal) experience….but, I still find it useful to do theology.
Because really, theology IS life… Everything we do has spiritual implications. Everything in this world is within the realm of God, and so it has theological meaning. Attempting to dive into this mystery, knowing full well that that mystery is bottomless, should necessarily lead us to a deeper knowledge about life, and namely, the meaning and purpose of it.
Good theology is also self-critical; i.e., it learns from itself, and from its sordid past… if it is, it can never be used as a tool for oppression or violence, because we have too many examples in our history to mention to give us any excuse of ignorance in the future.
I’m no longer a student. I’m a youth pastor now. Which means, when I say things with theological significance, I don’t get to put down footnotes and create elaborate arguments; instead I am explaining things have I’ve studied/discovered to churchgoers and teenagers in simple terms… well, sorta. You can poll any of my kids and they’ll probably tell you that I have a tendency to speak in another language at times… I really have to watch myself. And I’m not going to lie; it’s been frustrating. I have things in my head that make sense, that I can’t seem to communicate as well as I would like. I want people to catch the vision of the Kingdom of God, but I can’t seem to put it into terms that most people can get, without having studied theology on their own. Basically, I’m used to working with people who share some basic presuppositions. Without these, I am constantly explaining myself, until I talk myself into so deep a spiral that no one is following me anymore. I exaggerate, but only a little.
After all, my sermons have all been to audiences with whom I feel like I have some continuity in thought and theology….either to classmates, or to the Warehouse, whose congregants largely share my convictions. While I hold these convictions firmly (and yet loosely, which is a conviction in itself), I sometimes now feel like I’m the only one on the planet with this view of the Christian religion…which is not true, of course.
And as you can see, without writing papers constantly, I have become ridiculously verbose…another obstacle to clear communication.
So I’ve become increasingly interested in working my language and my metaphors, crafting and molding them, so that my progressive convictions can strike an emotional chord with others, just as they do with me. And, I want to be able to show how it all ties together, how it all fits, by logical standards, biblical standards, and historical standards.
In other words, I want to be Rob Bell.
So, over the next several blog entries (I may interject a few other entries about other things) I plan to let this blog be an open forum where I can craft in everyday language my view of the Gospel. That is, “the Gospel according to josh.” Once I write something that I think is compelling, I’ll be illiciting feedback from trusted sources, but whoever you are, if you have an opinion, I would love to hear it. It would be a great help to me. And my youth will thank you.