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Theology Vs. People September 23, 2010

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity, Danny Jones, Fruits of the Spirit, The Church, theology.

I read a tweet this morning from my friend and High School Pastor of my church, Danny Jones (a good follow on Twitter by the way: @thedannyjones), in which he issued an interesting challenge to his followers. He said, “Here’s a challenge for everyone. Let’s try and value people like we value our theology this week.”

What struck me as interesting about this tweet is that Danny assumes, like a lot of people do, that theology doesn’t value people. That’s when I started wondering, “At what point did theology and people become enemies?”

I am passionate about theology. I am also passionate about people (though admittedly, I have an easier time dealing with theology than people due to my social awkwardness). But, I believe that the theologies that I adhere to help me to value people more. Somewhere along the way, it has gotten into our heads that theology is a divisive thing. I think Danny tweeted what he did, because he has seen, like I have, people get into loud, obnoxious arguments over differences in theology. The problem with that ,though, is with the theologians and not the theologies.

Theology is good. It needs to be taught in our churches, but it needs to be taught in a way that lifts people up and explained how it can be used in everyday life. This is the whole point of what is called, “Practical Theology.” The reason some people value their theologies more than people is because they haven’t been taught that theology is for people. I think most churches have strayed away from teaching good theology because they have seen how it can be abused, so they leave it for the seminaries and Christian universities to teach. That’s the main problem. As a graduate of a Christian university, I have seen firsthand that most of the professors in those settings, while brilliant, aren’t exactly the most loving Christians in the world. So, naturally, the students who learn theology from these people have a hard time communicating just how people-friendly theology can be.

Bottom line, good theology values people. If a certain theology doesn’t value people, it’s simply a bad theology and should be thrown out. But, just because some theologies don’t value people, or some theologians don’t understand how their theology values people, doesn’t mean that theology is bad. I value people because my theology values people.  I can’t value people without it.  Theology and people are not enemies. They are not at odds with each other. We can’t value one more than the other, because they are not mutually exclusive. Our theologies should always be something that help us live out a Christian lifestyle. If your particular theology doesn’t produce in you the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) towards people then you don’t have a Christian theology at all.

Let’s stop thinking of theology as a bad thing, and remember that it is a good thing designed to help us communicate who God is to other people.

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