The beauty of theology
Ever miss academic theology? There is a rightness about grounding theology in the messy business of ministry, in experience and the mundane, the unspectacular and the spectacular, the routine and the unexpected.
It is a tonic, nevertheless, to read Ben Myers' new book on the theology of Rowan Williams. "Christ the Stranger." I pick up this book like I might snack on chocolate - it is delicious and engagingly written. His sentences are beautifully crafted and although his is a commentary on the theology of Rowan Williams' whose theology is often a commentary on Barth or MacKinnon or Augustine or a great poet or playwright, Myers' words become theology in themselves as he summarises Williams so adeptly and exquisitely.
Take this, for example, which becomes a perfect apologetic for having a passion for theology:
...if Christ is a wound then theology is a sort of therapeutics of Christian identity, an attempt to unmask our fantasies and expose us to reality. Theology....is not really about ideas but about life. Through Christ's resurrection, the reality of God has become woven into the fabric of human experience. God is what fractures our identity, and God is the new coherence of our stories. To perform this coherence, to make God's reality legible in the embodied pattern of our lives, is what it means to speak of God. Simply put, 'to live the forgiven life wholeheartedly is... to speak of God.' When Milton's Adam awakens for the first time in paradise, he looks about him and erupts into bewildered praise:
Tell me, how may I know him, how adore,
From whom I have that thus I move and live,
And feel that I am happier than I know.
Adam is shocked into speech. And that is what theology is like: a shock of awareness, a stunned stammering as we awaken to the surprising advent of the second Adam, the Word, God's own startling speech in our world.
Ordained Anglican. Thinking out loud about church.