Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Problem with Systematic Theology

Yes, those banana plants are in my back yard. That's one bonus of living on the Gulf Coast, and closer to the equator than Cairo, Egypt. No, it's not a dry heat.

Here's a tip for all of us armchair theologians: when our minds start sneaking off to greener pastures, we're in search of God, and there's more of God in those greener pastures than in the academic deserts we're creating.

The Bible does theology much better than we do. Poetry, architecture, song lyrics, embroidery, incense. Blood sacrifice. A scarlet thread turning white. A harvest. Jesus explained the kingdom of God in terms of baked bread, sheep, wedding banquets, running water, lilies that are there one day and gone the next, sparrows that do not fall apart from God, bread and wine, and fig trees. Speaking of fig trees, now it's only a few more weeks til, courtesy of that beautifully overgrown fig tree in one corner of my yard, I hope to be gorging myself on the best fruit that God created. The humble masterpiece: the fig. And just in time, I'm nearly out of fig jam. My mother and my sister-in-law have also mentioned that they're out of fig jam, just in case I make some extra. Which I plan to.

The point? That systematic theology easily misses the point. Anyone who has been reading my blog any length of time knows that I'm not anti-intellectual. It's just that our mind is only one of our faculties, and it tends to disdain the others, and it has no right to do so. David had it right: "Taste and see that the LORD is good."

1 comment:

Ben Myers said...

Hi, WF -- I didn't know you were on the Gold Coast (as soon as saw the photo, I thought it must be a Queensland backyard!). I'm in Brisbane now, but last year I was living near the Gold Coast (on Mt Tamborine). It's a beautiful area -- and I can see why you'd be a "weekend fisher"!