Friday, April 30, 2010

We need theology

"We need theology not because it is a nice thing to get our ideas sorted out in our heads organized so that we can do the jigsaw of all these wonderful abstract ideas but because without prayerful reflective investigation of who God is, who the people of God are, and what the one hope that belongs to our call is. Without that prayerful wise investigation, the worldview which we call the one church in Jesus Christ will not be able to sustain itself. If you don't believe me, think of churches that have given up on theology and you will see what I mean."
(N. T. Wright, Paul and the People of God: Whence and Whither Pauline Studies and the Life of the Church, The 19th Annual Wheaton Theology Conference, 17th April 2010)

8 comments:

reasonable said...

Some anti-critical-thinking people sees such thinking activities as intellectual-masturbation. But as Wright would probably see it, intellectual-masturbation has its place and has greater practical utility and implications beyond the intellectual pleasure it gives.

yourshoeah said...

I agree that theology is critical. Unfortunately, the WAY and APPROACH it has been done has to be seriously reexamined. How do we make critical and sound truths real and relevant to the ones who need it the most- those who are seeking for Truth and Reality?

Sze Zeng said...

Hi reasonable,

Thank you for comment. I don't think Wright is equating "prayerful reflective investigation of who God is, who the people of God are, and what the one hope that belongs to our call is" with intellectual masturbation. :-)


Hi Yoshua,

Thank you for comment. You are right that we need to 'reform' the way and approach to theologize. That's what we are lacking in this part of the world. Have you thought of how we can do that?

reasonable said...

intellectual masturbation: any intellectual exercise (regardless of the objectives/goals of that exercise) that give rise to some mental pleasure (one feels good). I am imagining Wright having the sense of joy/happiness when he solved some Pauline puzzle or some problems in Paul's letters, for example. :p

Sze Zeng said...

Hi reasonable,

In that case, then 'masturbation' is not masturbation anymore. Instead of an activity to fill the void of lust for proximity and short-lived climatic excitement, it becomes mere search for joy/happiness (regardless short-lived or otherwise).

Wright attempts to solve a theological puzzle not merely for joy/happiness but primarily sees it as his calling and at the same time hoping that his worthwhile research will sustain the church of Jesus Christ. Thus one finds it hard to separate Wright's attempt to fulfill his calling from the results he attained after his work (joy/happiness/sustenance of the church). Unless one able to separate the two, then only one can equate that as 'masturbation' of an intelligent sort. Or, as you have suggested, change 'masturbation' to suit Wright's calling in order to make the equation. :-)

yourshoeah said...

SZ,

Not exactly sure. But I think if given the right amount of input and rumination, an authentic approach is feasible. Now all we need is copious amounts of coffee and companionship.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Yoshua,

Yea, those are the steps. And those are what we are short of too. And local scene does not seem to provide a conducive environment for these steps to be carried out.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi reasonable,

a correction on my part:

"Instead of an activity to fill the void of lust for proximity and short-lived climatic excitement, it becomes mere ATTAINMENT OF joy/happiness (regardless short-lived or otherwise)."