I love theology. Actually, I think that all religious people love theology, unfortunately the very idea of theology has been poisoned for us. So many of us think of theology and theologians in the same terms as we think of laws and lawyers. We have forgotten the subtle distinction between a canon lawyer, and a theologian. While I admit, that the canon lawyer should ideally be a theologian, the minutia of canon law is no more than a map of boundaries. The creeds do not teach us about God — but more where to look for God.
Theology is the act of getting to know God. Theology is the practice of prayer, it is the practice of living according to our faith in God. Theology is asking questions, seeking answers. Theology expands from our personal experience when we share our experiences with others, and listen to their stories. It expands further when we read and study the collection. Eventually, we try to make sense of it all — we seek common themes, we make abstractions and find patterns. We try to know God in the same sense that we know our best friends and family members. Theology is this process.
Sometimes theology is asking the questions that we think should not be asked. God knows us better than we know ourselves, so we cannot hide our doubts and fears. One thing we seem to forget though — Almighty God, who has the whole universe, has built relationships with billions of people over the course of human history, has to have a rather thick skin. We will fight with our best friends, why are we afraid to hurt God’s feelings? I love theology because it gives me permission to ask the hard questions!
One of my favorite theologians was born in Indiana, right around where I now live. He attended Friends University not long before I did, and died far too young. What follows is cover for a song that he wrote just before he died. For any who do not understand my love of theology — I give you Christian theology in its purist form:
I ask the same questions our late Friend Richard Wayne Mullins asks — and those easiest to find a ‘right’ answer remain asked after the obviously right answer is given. In a relationship, sometimes answers are never satisfactory. These are some of the questions of theology:
*Do you who live in heaven hear the prayers of those down here on Earth?
*Do you remember when you lived down here?
*Did you forget about us?
*Do you who live in radiance hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin?
*Did you ever know loneliness?
*Did you ever know need?
*Do you remember just how long a night can get?
*Will those who mourn be left uncomforted?
*Do you who live in eternity hear the prayers of those of us who live in time?