keep hearing that theology is tough stuff and that
it seems useless. That's a little like saying that
computer science is too tough to be necessary. Where
would we be without out laptops, our tablets, our
phones? I know, we don't often think about the amazing
complexity and sophistication that goes into one of
these devices. We just turn them on and expect them
to work. When they are slow or require two or three
tries to get and app or a use running
calls for even more sophistication than a computer.
Just to think through the implications of the simplicity
of God - his absolute undividedness and indivisibility
(for example) can cause a headache.
a tragedy if we were to allow our religious thinking
to focus only on morality! It is so easy to think
of morality in terms of rules and of rules in terms
of exceptions. This makes us lose sight of morality
as just one branch of spirituality, of learning to
live with a God who is beyond our wildest imaginings.
Worse still, rule-keeping is about us, not about God.
Self-disgust or self-complacency are some of the nastiest
qualities of the 'religious people' - of ourselves.
easier then, almost a temptation, to decide that religion
and religious feelings are the sole domain of our
relationship with God. This is like reducing a boy-girl
relationship to romantic stuff or the ten things that
guarantee marital happiness - as if every relationship
between a unique male and a unique female could be
analyzed and understood in these and only these terms.
Rules are good for the early stages of a relationship;
they keep us from hurting one another. But as acquaintance
moves into friendship and friendship into love and
love into a life-long commitment, something more is
called for and needed.
relationship with God we move from obedience to love,
from non-murder to positive care, from non-adultery
to true purity of heart, from non-stealing to real
generosity. This movement happens, not because we
have thrown the rules out, but because we want to
be more like God. And that is something quite different
from being like all the rest of the rule-keepers.
a lot of books on 'spirituality'. These all have one
thing in common, they are lists of rules for one step
the rules - or maybe two. But real holiness and joy
in Christianity depend on knowing God. For that knowledge
there are no rules except those that make love a joy
-- self-forgetfulness and other-mindfulness, eagerness
and patience, humility and unlimited hope. and so
on. If you have noticed that these qualities have
a certain opposition to each other, go back and realize
that they are opposed only by the object of their
focus - the self and God.
this makes me think that it might be useful to take
some time looking at some false ideas of God, or at
the false gods we create out of partial knowledge
of the true God.
and truly and theologically yours,