“To You, Dear Reader…” A request for requests

You’ve likely noticed that I want this blog to be about “experiments in faithful Christian formation.” In other words, I want my work here to be helpful to myself and other people as we live into being followers of Jesus, members of Christian communities, and citizens of the Kingdom of God. I’d also like to hear from people who have questions or disagreements with Christians or Christian tradition in its various forms–people are “formed” by their relationships and conversations as much as by, if not more than, their thoughts.

I say “experiments” because I’m trying to acknowledge two things: First, that I’m thinking out loud, here, but I’m aware of being watched. I will not always be right, or even coherent, but I’m learning to be OK with that. My “relaxedness” in this regard is not because I disbelieve in careful thought and due diligence, but because I believe you, Dear Reader, are part of the conversation, and you’re allowed to push back. Second, I think it’s high time that most Christians regained some sense of playfulness and even proper trial and error in the theological task. One of the most beneficial things I have learned while hanging out with some of my Jewish friends is: My goodness, do they love a good argument! Many Christian communities, for reasons I still don’t understand fully, shy away from serious and playful experiments in faithful Christian living and thinking. Maybe it’s because many of us believe that Scripture only has one voice, that the Scriptures were verbally dictated by God to the human authors, or that theological mistakes are always sinful. (J.I. Packer, a very conservative Anglican theologian, once quipped that many Christians believe salvation comes by correct doctrinal formulation, “saying the right words,” which is not the case!) Wondering aloud, “I wonder what it means to take the Good News seriously when I think about…?” Doing our wondering with a smile because we are confident in this first century Jewish guy we love to steer us right. It might be a good start to recovering the deep relaxation necessary for a good argument!

Now I turn to you, Dear Reader. What sorts of conversations do you have with yourself? What burning questions do you have? Do you ever feel like “running an experiment” in the hearing of sympathetic friends on the journey?

In other words, this is a request for requests. Is there a book or film you want reviewed, an idea from an author you want to share to which you’d like my response, a topic or theme for a poem, a burning question in your heart, a question in the form of, “I wonder what Rob believes about…”? Let me know, and I’ll be sure to get around to them–some sooner, some later. (I doubt I’ll run out of ideas, but that means I’ll be writing about the inside of my head a lot. I’d like to hear from you!)

I’m looking forward to running more “experiments in Christian formation” together. Leave a comment here, on Facebook, or wherever you see this entry.

In peace,

Rob

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2 comments

  1. -Mike

    What do you believe?
    Why do you believe it?
    Have you ever been wrong about a foundational belief?
    What, if anything, can change your beliefs?

    Like

    • theologywriter

      Mike, these are great questions, and I’ll address them repeatedly in coming posts.

      But I would say the biggest foundational change (other than overcoming the idea that the biblical authors are homophobes) was that I no longer believe the Bible to be inerrant, but it is nevertheless inspired. Why? Because there are clearly errors and contradictions in Scripture. Very simple example: Ants have a queen, and yet the book of Proverbs says that ants have no ruler yet get the job done (in contrast to a lazy person).

      I would say that my beliefs change because of two things: a) there is more evidence for another position or belief; or b) believing another position will increase the number of people who experience love, liberation, healing, and transformation. It’s an ancient Christian precept that if one’s interpretation of the Bible harms your neighbour, you are not interpreting correctly, even if you have a strong exegetical argument.

      Thanks again for your questions!

      Like

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