CHRIST OUR SAVIOR
Roman Catholic Parish
MANCHESTER, VERMONT

 
 

June 9, 2019

Dear All,

If politics is the art of the possible (someone said so), theology (Christianity in thokught) is the science of the good. This distinction is critical if we are to understand why it is that Christianity seems to be so impractical.

Politicians get elected on the strength of promises they make (ask Mrs. May or Mr. Netanyahu about this). If their promises are not attractive to voters, they remain private citizens. They return to that state when they can no longer deliver or find excuses.

Theologians are volunteers. Their only promise is that God is faithful to and all-powerful in in the accomplishment of his promises; they are freed of the burden of having to deliver!

Non-believers think of theology as 'pie in the sky'. Economists call it socialism (at their most polite). Psychologists call it enforced infancy (why else is God called "Father"?). Historians call it a thing of the past. Scientists call it unsubstantiated. 'Spiritual' people call it hypocrisy. None of these actually believe in God; they believe in their own disciplines and resources and descriptions of human thriving.

But, for those of us who study it, theology is the word of God (one etymological meaning of the word) and the study of that word's Speaker (another etymological meaning).

If there is a God - better: since there is a God, he and his word are the only absolutely unchanging and unchanged realities in the entire realm of being. The real truth about any other and every other person or thing cannot be known unless one knows as well its relationship to God. That means that whatever else we may know about a person, place, thing or issue, our knowledge is fundamentally flawed without reference to God and any decisions we make based on that flawed knowledge are unsound.

That may seem a large claim, but it seems large only because every other science claims to offer exhaustive and infallible information about its topic; thus theology is bunkum. Theology is much more modest, it claims to offer only a part of truth. These other 'sciences' want to be the only one; theology recognizes it place amongst all the others. Why is theology so modest?

God is not the only actor in the universe. Every human being, from Adam to the latest-born infant on the face of the earth has had some sort of impact on the universe. Not to want to know about those impacts would suggest that those actors are unworthy of consideration or that their effects do not touch us or that we alone are worth studying. Think about the power that some eleven-year-old hacker hiding in the hills of Tibet can do to mess up your life, your finances and your peace of mind and even the computer on which this essay was created in the network on which it was printed and you will know that every human is significant. You may not feel important yourself … but how we feel is such a bad guide to the truth of things as they are!

I will be doing some theological reflections on some issues over the next few weeks. Hang on and enjoy!

Really and truly and theologically yours,

tm

     



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