The Frustration of Theology
Frustration of Theology
Theology is not for the faint of heart. The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know much about anything. I continue to be driven back towards the personal experience of God. Currently, I’m am driven towards the idea of central to the story of humanity is the encounter with the divine. This is best represented in the incarnation of God, Jesus of Nazareth.
The passion narrative drives the story of Jesus in the gospels. Ultimately Christ dies on the cross for the sins of humanity. The New Testament makes multiple atonement claims on how exactly this all works, but that’s a longer blog post fraught with more peril than this one.
I feel like we have over programmed our Christianity. This is largely due to the larger segmentation of society. With our increased specialization, we believe we must always seek specialists to help us along the way. To lose weight, we join group gym sessions. To get a degree, we join a cohort of like-minded folks in study. Therefore to get ‘Christianed’, we must join a group and follow the program. Many programs have admirable goals, but how do we break from the idea of ‘doing stuff’ to ‘following Christ’.
Jesus seems like a crazy person. He goes to the desert, he trashes a temple, and he touches sick people. While some of this is first century mystic teacher behavior, other pieces are just bizarre. Jesus also gives a sermon where he basically inverts the world. Blessed are the meek, peacemakers, and humble. Jesus doesn’t stick to the program. The Pharisees have all the programs. They know when to wash and how to interact to ‘live the best life now.’ Jesus rejects the view of the now keeping in mind the Kingdom of God.
How does Jesus know these things? What we can learn from Jesus is his life of constant prayer. It sounds boring and weird, but Jesus keeps the will of God within his mind. Jesus prays in the desert. Jesus prays on the mountain. Jesus prays in the garden. Jesus prays on the cross. This continual prayer is something we can do. It is a mindfulness of the divine in our daily life or the ‘beloved community’ of Christ on earth that I’ve been learning about by reading John Dear.
Basically, Jesus is a spirit-led person. This is one of the gifts given to us with the procession of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us to do the will of God in daily life. It gives us the ability to commune with the God in the way that Jesus does. Our interaction with the Holy Spirit is our divine encounter with God. I’m still working through some of this theologically. I need to come up with a standardized way to write this out in a more coherent fashion.