Systematic Theology & Praxis

27 Feb

Good morning,

This title should breathe fear into any seminary student and just confuse everybody else.  When I was at Boston University School of Theology I was amazed at how many words (long, confusing words) were used to talk about God.  I must say that I did come to appreciate the words in the title.  Systematic theology meant having a theory about who God is that was consistent.

For example, God is in control, God is all good, God created everything. . . and so why is our world dipped in evil?  Well,. .  God let it happen. . .and if God is all good and created everything, how do we even imagine evil was created??  It was usually at this point that students got upset and might have resorted to something crazy like actually reading the books on theology.

Praxis might have seemed easier but it was really just as elusive in actuality.  Praxis is the living out of our theology.  So if we said that we are new creations in Christ and to love everyone, even [most especially] our enemies, then we do it. . .right?   We live our belief system that has been created through our systematic theology.

It takes a lot of work to be a Christian!

I think it might have been helpful in seminary if we had just read Romans 14.  Paul is so straightforward about living what we say we believe AND if we feel ourselves out of wack, then fix it.

19-21 So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

22-23 Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.

Here is to a great day of thinking about the Divine and what we say about God not with our words, but with our lives.

Peace,

Mary

 

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