Theology doesn’t excite me.
I think the moment you capture a theology, you kill it.
But I’m on my way to a seminary education/experience, and I interact with a lot people who get excited about theology. The kind of people who would rather sit in a room with a 500 year old book than a person with AIDS. Who would rather decide if and exactly how AIDS is a sin than to hold someone who is suffering with the disease and pray with them.
That said, I do realize that theology is a necessary part of living in the Kingdom. And so there are many times that someone says something about the Kingdom that makes my heart skip a beat. Like seeing someone you think you know, but when you approach them and get closer you realize they are not who you thought they were. Even the words that paint the best picture of who God is – his reasons for loving us and calling us to love others – are still only a poor reflection of what we will one day know of God and his love.
With that said, I present to you a few words spoken by a brother in Christ that make my heart skip a beat:
“WrightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assertion is quite simply that the essence of PaulÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Gospel was Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jesus is LordÃ¢â‚¬Â and that meant, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Caesar isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t.Ã¢â‚¬Â Concerning this gospel, Wright argues, Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is important to stress, as Paul would do himself were he not so muzzled by his interpreters, that when he referred to “the gospel” he was not talking about a scheme of soteriology (big theological word that means Ã¢â‚¬Å“a doctrine of how we are savedÃ¢â‚¬Â). Nor was he offering people a new way of being what we would call “religious”. Despite the way Protestantism has used the phrase (making it denote, as it never does in Paul, the doctrine of justification by faith), for Paul “the gospel” is the announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth is Israel’s Messiah and the world’s Lord.”
“So as a first century Christian who read PaulÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s letters, faith in the risen Christ was not simply an individual, private decision that only affected his or her choice of activities on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. This decision had massive social, religious, and political implications. Faith went far beyond mere creedal allegiance to a cultic lord, it was of the stuff that produced the first martyrs. Hear Wright summing up an argument by Richard Horsely, from Ã¢â‚¬Å“Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial SocietyÃ¢â‚¬Â: Ã¢â‚¬Å“His missionary workÃ¢â‚¬Â¦must be conceived not simply in terms of a traveling evangelist offering people a new religious experience, but of an ambassador for a king-in-waiting, establishing cells of people loyal to this new king, and ordering their lives according to his story, his symbols, and his praxis, and their minds according to his truth. This could only be construed as deeply counter-imperial, as subversive to the whole edifice of the Roman Empire; and there is in fact plenty of evidence that Paul intended it to be so construed, and that when he ended up in prison as a result of his work he took it as a sign that he had been doing his job properly.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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