I’m no theologian, I study mathematics & literature (that’s a cool combination, isn’t it :)?) and theology always seemed an oxymoron to me. Trying to grasp & describe God with human reason appeared to be more than odd. God was something I placed outside of the realm of logic reasoning.
When I read Ratzinger’s script of the infamous lecture he held in Regensburg I stumbled upon a beautiful thesis, in which Ratzinger emphasizes the fact that God is ‘logos’ and therefore not outside of rational reasoning and logic but rather constitutes it. As a result of this, I concurred, we don’t need to bring our reason to God, but we can rather accept God’s ‘logos’ to work in us and theology suddenly becomes way more than an inadequate attempt at trying to describe God in academic statements, theology becomes a way to find words that catch a glimpse of his reality.
At this point the whole thing is still merely a theoretical idea and an idealist’s perception of theology. When I look at the heated debates around theological issues in history as well, as a quick google search for “creatin & evolution” or “homosexuality & bible” might bring up, it seems as if theology is just about one side claiming to be right to smack the other side (which is obviously totally off track, because they misread the bible or don’t take it seriously enough or take the wrong passage to literal, while neglecting other more relevant passages… yackyackyada). Sometimes, Christians seem to be so intensely concerned with believing the “right” stuff that God suddenly becomes secondary. All at once, it’s about my point of view, my interpretation more than about catching that glimpse of God’s reality. And maybe we’re not far away from denying someone else’s plausibility or even the sincerity of his faith.
What I find intriguing about Jesus is, that he gave the whole aspect of theology a certain twist. When the pharisees stepped up to him and asked him all kinds of trick question to probe him for orthodoxy, he let the whole charade of set up intellectuality fly right back at them. Theology is not about trick questions and legalistic paradoxes. It is not a tool to judge someone else’s orthodoxy (as convenient as that might be). I read a nice piece by Joe Martino on the relevant christian blog (link) about those nice little theories we set up, using the bible as intellectual backup, thumping passages that promote our point of view just to prove we’re right. A former roommate once stated that he loved those theological debates where they would whip out their bibles and then you’d know why he always had a Schlachter translation around (that’s a quote! Schlachter is German and translates to butcher or slayer). Theology suddenly became about “slaying” your “opponents” POV.
Joe Martino tops his piece of with a completely different approach on the relevance of theology and states that the rules for whoever “wins” the theological debate are quite simple. It’s not about being right. It’s about God. And the measurement for whether it’s about God is NOT the right amount of bible verses thrown around. The measurement for sound theology is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness & self control. That’s a completely different take on the whole thing, isn’t it? That’s where God’s logos is at work.