Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Theology as an Idol

April 18, 2006

Yesterday, I was hanging out in a (virtual) pub with some friends, kicking back and keeping an eye out for God and life. And a stranger with a tin badge stepped through the louvered doors, guns drawn and firing from the hip, shooting just over our heads to try to roust us from our repast. He emptied his six-shooters several times, and would go on about ‘justification’ and roads to Rome as he reloaded with rounds from his bandolier.

Being the convivial hosts that we are, we eyed our new friend, took another sip of our respective drinks, and offered a friendly ‘hello’. At first, we thought he was hard of hearing: we talked in low tones, but he shouted back in all caps. We smiled at the end of his pistols, but he kept them leveled at our heads. We tried to find some common ground, but he would have none of it. It was a standoff, to be sure, but only on one side. Are we cowards, or fools, or just fearless? I’m not exactly sure.

But of this I am sure: even if you’re working from a foundational framework, you gots to love a few things more than your personal understanding of theology. I mean, that’s good and all, but what’s better than that is true theology: an understanding of God (unattainable though that be). And what’s better than that is an understanding of God as he reveals himself. And what’s better than that is God’s true revelation of himself. But what’s best of all is God himself. And what makes me saddest of all is that if God himself had come into the pub, our friend might be too busy clutching his theology to notice.

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4 Responses to “Theology as an Idol”

  1. kate says:

    It reminds me of a certain rhyme from one of my favorite movies, “Say Anything.” Though, it’s quite possible that those of you whose college roommates didn’t play the movie soundtrack approximately 36,843 times in the course of your freshman year won’t get that allusion.
    Mighty nice metaphor there, pardner!

  2. dawnrw says:

    Yesterday, I was feeling a little condescending, a bit smug, toward your unenlightened shooter. Then just today, I was the one speaking in all caps. Why do I keep doing what I don’t want to do?

  3. WMS says:

    LOUD NOISES!!!!!!! well said, Michael

  4. Anonymous says:

    IF YOU DON’T STAND UP FOR TRUTH YOU ARE REALLY JUST LAYING DOWN FOR THE DEVIL. IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BUT SAVED, APOLOGIES CAN BE GIVEN IN HEAVEN. IF LIES ARE ALLOWED TO SPREAD, THEN FIRE BURNS YOU ALL.

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