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Monday, May 10, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Acts 17

This past January I had the privilege of starting a confirmation class at Woodland Hills Community Church. The group spent the first couple months of the year exploring the Bible and Christian history.

We are just now starting a section of the class that will deal with theology. I absolutely LOVE helping folks explore theology.

Why do I love exploring theology so much?

Because I think helping people explore their beliefs about God is an incredibly rewarding endeavor. Through this process I can help people get in touch with all sorts of hidden assumptions they have made over the years about God and create safe space for folks to either continue holding those assumptions or give themselves permission to let go of those assumptions as they explore new possibilities.

There is one thing that I always share with folks that I believe is fundamental to doing theological exploration with integrity. I sum up that position by saying: “Before we go any further it’s important to always remember there is a difference between God - and our beliefs about God.”

Lots of times people will ask why I say that.

I say that because we have to have a sense of humility so that we never forget not one of our minds can contain the full essence and truth of God. So while we can come to conclusions about God based upon our limited thoughts and limited experiences, we can never capture the fullness of God within our limited minds.

So why am I sharing my theological assumptions with folks not in my confirmation class?

I do so to capture a sense of balance with the sentiments Paul expressed in today’s passage from Acts. In that passage, Paul – who was speaking to an intellectual crowd of Greek – noted that he had found “the god nobody knows”. He goes on to talk about this god with a sense of knowing.

If I had been next to Paul when he was delivering the address, I would have tugged on his robe and whispered in his ear, “While we can know parts of God, make sure you say that we can’t know all of this God. Otherwise, we might run the risk of worshipping a god who is the product of our limited minds. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

Today, I invite you to consider your own theological assumptions about God. Do you believe you – a finite, limited creature – can know the fullness of God in all God’s manifestations; or do you believe that you – a finite, limited create – can know portions of the infinite and unlimited Source of all being? How you answer that question will largely determine the way in which you carry yourself.

Til next time…

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