Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How to do this, Theologically

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance…
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
There have been times that I have found myself in my seminary classes listening to my professors, and prayerfully wondering: why am I the one who has been given the opportunity to learn what isn’t being taught in most churches?  It’s not fair.  There are so many who would benefit from the wisdom and knowledge that I have been given.   And the answer that comes is, simply, so that I can share it with those who have been given other experiences.  For as we are all one body in Christ, we each are called to bring our encounters and knowledge to the proverbial table and enrich one another’s lives, for the glory of God.  Just as it is the heart’s duty to beat and the knee’s to bend, so we should each employ the talents we have and the gifts we have been given for the edification of our fellow members.  Thus, dear reader, I ask that you not think that by attempting this series on Theology I am placing myself on equal footing with Theologians who have devoted their entire lives to the study of God.   Quite the opposite!  I present this information to you as one who is learning it myself.  I am your friend who learned to ski last winter, and has this season invited you along to experience the thrilling majesty that I, of late, have discovered.  I am fulfilling my commitment to freely share what I have freely received.

Library of Congress, foyer ceiling, June 14, 2013

To that caveat I will add one more: I have vetted what I offer here.  These are snippets of exercises I performed under direct supervision of deans and doctors of theology.  And I assure you that I will present nothing that earned less than an “A.”  For just as you wouldn’t want a medical doctor who is barely competent, nor should you want someone feeding you theology that is lacking.  For lack can lead to off.           
For the duration of this series, we will address one theological topic per week.  This means that there is no way, in an eight week series, that we can address all topics related to theology.  To do so, justly, would take a lifetime.  Instead, I have chosen two topics each from the following categories: God’s attributes [what makes God who He is], God’s revelation [how we know who He is], and God’s relationship with human beings [how God relates to us as a part of His creation].  For each topic, I will post a brief introduction with definitions on Monday and will commence with the theological discussion on Tuesday.  I have indicated below the dates these will be posted.  I want to encourage you: find someone with whom you can discuss the topics we're going to cover.  Really.  Invite a friend or spouse or other family member to read along with you.  And then, talk about it.  God will use this other person to help you see more of who God is, trust me.  Who knows, you might spark a relationship that finds grounding in prayer and theology! 

I have also selected a scripture or two, noted below, on which I will focus that week’s discussion.  I also want to encourage you to read the scriptures prior to reading the corresponding lesson.  Spend time prayerfully reflecting on each passage.  If you have time, see if you can find corresponding passages to study through the week, or consider using them as a memory verse for the week.  But know that none of this should be done to "impress" God or your theology partner, vanity and pride have no place in the study of God.  Again, trust me on that one!  And as always, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the scriptures for you, open your heart to God’s voice, and seek to gain wisdom in and of Him.  Our God delights in answering these prayers!        

Attributes: October
Revelation:  November
Relationship: December

Library of Congress, foyer staircase, June 14, 2013

Curious about where we’ve been during this study?  Click on the links below to see more.
Why do we need theology anyway?


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