Thursday, March 25, 2010

Theology for me today

This post from Tash McGill among several other stimuli has got me thinking that I should say something of my theology. And that I should be clear and simple. No name dropping, no labels, no controversy.

I am in the middle of and beginning some discussions with people whom I have not seen or heard from for 50 years. In the background is a school whose students in the 1950s were brought up with fear, torment, and abuse. (The Pope's recent letter - text here - invites a response also.)

Incidentally, translating Lamentations is not going to be a slam dunk. I am managing one or two verses a day at the moment - that means 22*7/2 days before I utter much. I think I had better read the whole thing before publishing anything and maybe even look at a commentary or two.

In the meanwhile, what would constitute theology? Not my creed though it might say something. Not liturgical practice, though that too might help. I did write about both years ago - lots of little essays in the beginning of my writing time since 1994 when I had that 16 part dream about the structure of Romans.

Theology would have to be an answer to the question 'what do I think about God and the big words that are used about God in my traditions'. Here is a list from John Hobbins on the Clayboy blog recently.
Redemption, ... vicarious suffering, forensic justification, election, inerrancy, infallibility (a stronger concept than inerrancy), atonement, heaven, hell, the power of the keys ...
These are big words. Redemption is from the beginning as I have noted elsewhere - there is no Creation without Redemption. And God saw the light that it was good. Faith is there in that thought.

I thought also about writing again on atonement. Then I saw two essays and poems on it from years ago. We also discussed atonement and a dozen different views of it over the centuries in our Bible study recently - so many words. Richard Beck has a relevant post from last week on George MacDonald (not related to me as far as I know)

So to simplicity - I will begin with this: "What happened to you that did not happen to me? You are a true believer and I am not."

I am coming up against this question in the churches also - how can I respond?  It turns out that I wrote some essays several weeks ago on the plane to Hawaii. They are, strange to say, directly relevant to the question above. So I will transcribe them in a later post. Before they call, I will answer, says the Lord.