a thought…

29 Oct

I know a number of people and check a number of blogs of people who like to populate their “recommended reading” lists with all kinds of books discussing theology, church growth, spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines and stuff like that.

It annoys the crap out of me. It just seems an outrageous waste of time and energy. (I must send out an apology to a couple of you that may read this. You know who you are.)

I mean, the people that I’ve known in my life that I have respected the most for their spiritual maturity and wisdom would never mention their personal theology. What impressed me about those people I can think of would be their humility, generosity, gentleness and honesty.

I just think most people don’t care if you’re 5 point Calvinist or Armenian. They don’t care if you believe every word of the Left Behind books or if you even believe there is an actual hell or not.

I also think that when it’s all said and done all this thought, study and discussion will be dust. It won’t matter. Why in the world would anybody be sitting around in heaven talking about this stuff? Why should any body worry about it now?

What will be talking about if we make it to that point?



Posted by on October 29, 2007 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “a thought…

  1. Jake T

    October 30, 2007 at 4:09 am

    I hear what you’re saying. But I want somebody smarter than me to articulate why Jesus died and what that means for our lives in a way that makes sense.

    B/c I can’t. The legal metaphor seems like a pretty limited (and not particularly graceful) one to me.

    And along the same lines, wtg does evangelism mean?

    Those two questions are killing me.

    And while I don’t have any dumb books in my sidebar, I have been reading a lot of stuff, although most of it probably wouldn’t fit in the Rick Warren category (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and now Keikegaard, or at least, that’s what I’m trying next–I couldn’t get through Schliermacher).

    I hear what you’re saying, I just don’t know if even you are right, let alone what we keep saying about evangelism and justification, blah blah blah.

  2. Trevor

    October 31, 2007 at 9:07 am

    re: your comment re: your bill mallonee post:

    “He had already decided in his own mind and made know effort to use the beauty of language to paint pictures and help people draw their own conclusions. He simply stated what he had decided was truth.”

    so, does a good worship song have to let the hearers draw their own conclusions about god?

    i see and respect what you’re saying about mockingbird and derek webb, you expressed it well, and i can see why you might see it that way. (see?) it seems related to this theology book post. both express your distaste for or discomfort with popular expressions of theology.

    you think that we can’t know the answers to most of those questions and/or they don’t matter. i can definitely understand that, though i’m not sure how certainly you and i can know that other people can’t know those things and/or that the knowledge or its pursuit can’t be productive.

    for one thing, where’s the hard line between “theology” and god himself, or at least between theology that is important and certain enough to be the subject of worship songs and theology that isn’t? is it enough to praise god just for being generally good? whatever you praise him for, if you praise him for anything, requires an assumption of truth about him.

    the lyrics on mockingbird contain blatant messages. you think that makes them bad art. (again i’m telling you what i perceive you think) i’m not convinced messages can’t be blatant and artful. certainly the recognizing and appreciating of art is subjective.

    presumably derek webb was sincerely convinced both of his messages and the utility of communicating them explicitly (or at least that god wanted him to do so). and shack, i theorize that the truths you are certain of are fairly plain in your songs, and if you were more certain about other theological issues, then those would plain in your songs too.

  3. Anonymous

    November 1, 2007 at 5:35 am

    Jake, for the record, I don’t think the legal argument is correct. The cross did not happen in order to clear up a legal technicality or whatever. I won’t go into it now, because the blog wasn’t about this. I think the key, however, is contained in 1 Corinthians 15:45, when Paul calls Christ “the last Adam.” How was Jesus the last Adam? Very few people can or have answered that question, but I think I understand it. Anyway, maybe sometime I can articulate it, and maybe you’ll agree with me and maybe you won’t. Suffice it to say, the legal argument used for the cross, is to me, pretty weak, and not, I think, ultimately correct. When the Bible talks about Jesus “paying the price” for our sins, I think that is literally true, not just true in a technical legal sense.

    Anywho, as to Derek’s post about theology, its kind of what we (Shackletts, Millers, Stilwells) were talking about at Burger King the other day. A lot of people fight and defend theological positions that we can’t really know. However, the theological views that people hold very often have a practical effect on how they approach their faith and how they live. My personal opinion is that if someone’s theology doesn’t cause them to be more like Christ (by which I mean, cause them to more clearly exhibit the fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5) then what is the value of it? (hint: less than one)

    Remember, technically the Pharisees were the closest to correct from a Biblical theological position. They were certainly closer to the truth theologically than the Sadducees, who threw out everything but the Torah. Yet Jesus fought with the Pharisees (well “fought” may be too harsh a word) far more than he did with the Sadducees, because even though they might have been more “theologically correct,” they were pretty horrible people and were pushing people away from God with their judgmentalism, self righteousness, legalism and lack of compassion.

    That being said, Paul also writes “watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Tim 4:16). Notice he links the two: life and doctrine. He’s not saying “make sure you are doctrinally correct.” He is saying “your doctrine and your life are linked.” In other words, what you believe about God will affect the kind of person you are and the kind of life that you live, so it does matter, in that sense. Practical theology matters, I would say, but not the esoteric speculative stuff that people often fight about (as did the Pharisees).

    That’s my fifteen cents, anyway

    –jeff miller


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