“Theology is dull and of little value” – PART 2
Theology is God-Speak
There has to be a better way to “do theology.” That was the ending comment on my last post. And I think there is.
When we think “theology,” we are thinking 14th c. when classical theology was formulated. Let’s go back to the beginning; the beginning of the word “theology,” before the 14th c. Perhaps classical theology got it all wrong?
The word “theology” is derived from two primitive Indo-European (PIE) root words: dhes- and leg-. The first is a forming word of religious concept, and gives us “god.” The second, leg- means “to collect, to gather (together).” Derivatively*, “to speak.” “Theology” then, is literally: ‘god-speak” (or “god speaking”).
Classical theology has made theology into man-speaking about God. Now, admittedly when we do theology we can’t get away from our speaking about God, and yes, we do draw those theological suppositions that we make from scripture, which we postulate, contains God speaking to us.
Suppose though, we don’t begin with those scriptural suppositions. What would happen if we began elsewhere?
Suppose we began with the idea that God-Speak is to be found everywhere? That the God-experience is to be found in the mundane, as well as the profound. That God-Speak is found in the ordinary as well as the holy, and in the profane.
If we accept that as a valid premise, would it not perhaps make theology less dull and of more value to the person who says, “I don’t do theology”?
What I am suggesting is, if we want to make Christianity relevant to both Christians and those who have turned their back on Christianity, we need to begin brewing theology where they are, not where the theologians are.
Simply put, we need to begin postulating God-Speak” from what’s all around us, from what we see, and hear, and feel— before we head off to scripture.
In the next Theology Brewing Letter I will offer up some concrete ideas about doing this. In the meantime, please share your thoughts with me.