Theology is God-Speak


“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.

2 Replies to “Theology is God-Speak”

  1. Tony Boonstra says:

    Thanks. I look at sacred scripture as an account of the people of faith, people who have given to us their story of “who God was for them and what God expected of them. I like the idea that this is not the only way God speaks to us so I always look to use “universal” language and/or none religious language so as to be inclusive of the experiences of people from different faiths and people who do not embrace any religion. Much of Christian “religion” uses language that is only understood by the initiated. So I like your “brewing.”

  2. Thank you for your comment, Tony. Like you, I see God-Speak everywhere. In an email comment the responder talked about seeing God with out legs, that is, as we walk about, rather than only in the scriptures. I like that. It goes along with a Celtic Christian idea that active pilgrimage is a moving prayer, mostly listening to and seeing God. Another commented that he liked the idea of seeing God everywhere, even “the stank of my toes.” This goes with another comment, posted by a young lady (although on a different post), that we need to have talking about a “theology of the body.”

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