Wednesday, January 21, 2009

rattling on and on about why I don't talk much about theology

a few friends have been asking me why I don't blog much about theology, spirituality, the Bible and Jesus any more. I have thought about this and given plenty of answers, one of which is implied here

While part of it lies in my love of sports, music, food, film, politics, humor, sarcasm, and me, there is another reason. I don't care about, have a strong opinion on, or think some things matter as much as many who put some much stock in certain issues do. I feel (or don't feel) this way about homosexuality, gay marriage and unions, who is in an out of heaven and hell, atonement theory, denominations, who is right and wrong about theological matters (not entirely true- there are 3 or 4 subjects I feel strongly matter- and they are not what you probably think), Calvinism (I have strong opinions but they would piss off both sides) and who is in and out of orthodoxy and Emergent (just to name a few). Also, although I was an early supporter of Obama (04 Baby), I don't genuflect at his image like many I read. However, to be part of the theological conversations out there you must have strong opinions on these subjects and I have been around this stuff for a long time and am pretty laid back on some matters others take WAY too seriously. 

I think there are many good theologically astute blogs out there, much better than mine with much sharper minds on these subjects, and my strengths lie elsewhere. If I blog about theological matters, I feel I could be parroting what others are saying or getting myself into such controversy my wife will ask me to make this blog anonymous once more. You see, lately I have been thinking a lot more about theological issues, but some of those thoughts are not mainstream (in Emergent or Evangelicalism). This is after a few years in which I have not put as much work into theological/ spiritual matters as I had in the past. Why?

For one thing, I have had jobs which do not allow such thought. So, my reading has tended to come from other disciplines which can either relate to what I have been working on, or are for simple pleasure (of course, my idea of pleasurable reading would make some people think I am weirder than I really am). 

Also, we are not presently active in a church (not due to lack of trying), so I do not have much to react to, beyond my thoughts and those of friends, blogs or books. When I have led a church or been active in a church, I have blogged about those things I (we) were dealing with or discussing. I guess this could be an outlet for those theological reflections not expressed in ministry, but I find myself drawn to lighter subjects because they take less energy.

I do engage in theological conversation that I have thought of sharing here. I am in serious discussions with friends and family and among some friends in blogdom and on a discussion board. However, I tend to get sick of the exclusionary tone and lack of honest discussion I see out there. I tend to get tired of each person sharing their theological or Biblical opinion, thinking (left and right), they are right. 

There is too much self assurance and self righteousness (especially among those in official ministry*). There is too little reflection and humility. Sadly, I have seen that lately among former friends and colleagues (much of it in the comments sections and on social networking sites). So, I stick with things in which strong opinions do not matter and have no real world implications (food, culture, sports, etc.). In other words, I tend to stay away from theological reflections online because I take them seriously and do not take myself (and you) seriously at all.

Also, I am a little concerned with publishing some of these thoughts in a public setting (even such a small niche). I am in the midst of some redefinition of terms and theological growth that I have not defined well enough to share in a setting that may offend my readers or demand clarification I am not ready to give (and defend thoughts I do not hold dearly). In fact, some of my ideas have very little to do with defined theology and much more to do with neuroscience and psychology (which are not my strengths). I am emerging left on some issues, right on others and into very new territory on others, all of which would make people question my salvation (as a good Emergent Christian or EE-vangelical).

As I think about ministry, church and pastoral work (still like the idea and would like to jump back in someday- on my terms), I may try to share some of these thoughts in this public forum. I may get back to social justice issues (which have always concerned me). I will try to get back to subjects that actually matter, but don't hold your breath. I am not there yet (and the Cardinals still need my undivided attention).**

*people have gotten quite bold bragging about their ministry, their accomplishments, their service and their actions (especially in forums like twitter and facebook- "look at me, I am better than you").

** did I mention that I need tickets to the Super Bowl? Help a brother out. 

2 comments:

kristi said...

call me old-fashioned, but it just seems more meaningful (and definitely more communal) to have people over, enjoy a good meal together and maybe a glass of wine, and talk about theology that way...

Steve Valenta said...

That seemed like some of the most genuine blogging I've read in a long time. Really, really great stuff. Thanks for sharing that - it was awesome.