I’m cuttting and pasting stuff I’ve commented elsewhere …
…mere theological experimentation for novelty is not helpful but then I don’t think genuine thoughtful theological reflection can’t open missional and pragmatic possibilities … a minimum is to open up fresh categories for engagement at all levels – starting from thinking to doing.
… I think there is place of a healthy dose of “I don’t know” in matters of theology and life in general or “I’m trying to understand better” (Faith seeking understanding) … while affirming Jesus the Way the truth and the life. Could it be that while these issues are in conversation, many feel uncomfortable with the REAL struggles we face and wish to stay at the borders? Or in my view, we need not fear but have confidence in Christ guiding us even though we may be asking questions that previously are “not allowed”?
… I think it’s important to distinguish between an attempt to understand and articulate the best that one can on a particular doctrine from one who takes the Bible, Church History, and the context seriously from perhaps one who is doing it merely academically or from a detached (and some antagostic to the Christian faith) perspective. I’m aware of various approaches and the variety in theological reflection and construction all with a concern to contribute to the wider mission of the Church, and God’s mission for the world. I agree with you … that there are “so many “fresh categories for engagement” which are specific to the needs of the Malaysian church here and now.” That’s where both of us surely converge – the way we are approaching the specifics may differ. I think there’s space for that.
… My hope is that we Christians can model as best possible a fair hearing of where each person is coming from and what is their stated constructive proposal is about. Perhaps such a model of engagement could start here in Malaysia?
… I believe there is no saced/secular divide and the public/personal is “integrated” thus, a practice I make is whenever I’m talking more in a secular or public mode (I switch on my more theological or personal chip in quiet mode in the background) and vice versa. Now, a challenge is how can we encourage our fellow Christians to try to do the same.
Some heartfelt quick thoughts arising out of concerns here …
I suspect there’s a lot of work to “equip” ourselves to be “multilingual” i.e.
(1) “think” with various ways to use the more bigger words – theologically, politically, socially, etc (as much as we possibly can) – exercises like what we did the last few Emo meetings are moving us in that direction as well as the email/blog exchanges thus far.
(2) Learn how to “integrate” all this in a workable (not necessary air tight perfect) – mental model or “beta” paradigm is can constantly be refined and revised and articulated to the best that we can.
(3) When we are tempted to be in a “paralysis of analysis” mode, or “all this is too complicated”, remind ourselves of what was alluded already by Alwyn’s post and Yew Khuen’s response. “Loving our neighbor” doesn’t need to have all (1) & (2) sorted out. Plus, for me all this can run in parallel,
(4) Theologically, I’d like to suggest doing (1)-(3) is also a Trinitarian move – in the sense we are taking the Father – “Creation” seriously (thus no over “spiritualization”, owning our responsibility as stewards in this world) and Son – “Incarnation” (in the sense of entering our culture/context and learning various languages of thought and talk and allowing ourselves to “intentionally” live among the people) and Let’s not forget the “silent” member of the Trinity – The Spirit (trust in The Spirit’s movement among us as we learn and the Spirit’s “hovering over” our nation, the minds of people, very often going before us awaiting for us to recognize the pre-venient work of new creation)
2 thoughts on “Random Thoughts around 6:30pm”
It’s certainly a good thing to discuss the benefits or ‘take-home’ value of rethinking our essentials.
At the top of these I would include the opening up of horizons, ‘angles’, perceptions, etc. What do other people think about it? Are there other ways of looking at it? Could our spiritual forefathers have missed out certain things? Given the main categories of thinking today, what key differences are there (e.g. in the past the immutability of God was a primary doctrine – now it isn’t)?
Ultimately, I would think that unless we believe that *nothing good can come out of rethinking our essentials*, there will – and should – be room and space for a revisit(?)
Like a “suitecase” (which contains portable stories and not just definitions) which needs unpacking, I think the phrase “rethinking” might send goosebumps for those who think this means changing core beliefs or abandoning doctrines which are meant to be foundations of our faith. It seems to me what you are suggesting is NOT throwing out anything in the Nicene Creed, but “revisiting” and enter in a more conscious process of thinking (thus “rethinking”) in order to (1)Plunge its depths (2) Notice what may be missed (3)Connect to current needs and questions. (4) Be humbled (because after the whole exercise perhaps we are the ones who have “missed” lots of things 🙂 So, we need not fear “the opening up of horizons, ‘angles’, perceptions, etc” because we have pledged our allegience to Christ – the way, the truth and the life, and seek to be guided by the Spirit who leads us into all truth, in community past and present (with an eye on the future) This I think is part of the “tensions” we will live with and wrestle with on this side of heaven. Walking by faith and not by sight, is both scary at times, but also rewarding.