Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Wednesday, December 12

Queer theology III, and the relevance of academic theology

Well, I've completed the introduction.

Some good, ome bad.

I suppose what has influenced me most is the matter of sexual identity not being nearly a clear-cut in the Bible as we evangelicals would like to think. This starts in the question of how as a man I am part of the female bride of Christ, and how there must be a gritty truth at the core of the metaphor for it to work a a metaphor. It also looks at how Mary is the mother of Christ, but also his child by faith, and also his bride as part of the church. Then Christ himself - and I know I'm not going to explain this well because it's foggy in my memory - has both male and female characteristics: the male obvious but the female in the sense of .... Sorry, can't remember. I'll have to look it up again.

My wife has to return it to the library tomorrow as it is being recalled for another user. I have barely had time to dip into it really, let alone deal with the issues.

I still want to read one particular essay in the book, which looks at how our current perspective on sexuality and marriage is not as traditional as we would like to think nad owes more to the Reformation than to the church fathers. Perhaps I'll chekliy run those pages through the scanner tonight - although that would be naughty really.

I suppose my overall summary of the book would be:

There is some nonsense in it, but also some things that make you think more deeply.

I have a fairly cynical view to much academic theological writing.

To some extent it is just their job to try to look at something form a new angle, and I get the feeling that 'new angles' are in short supply so they get ever more far-fetched, scraping the barrel for something different and at odds with all tat has been said before. Also, just because someone has been to college and got a degree, and has access to lots of ancient and modern texts, and can read them and have basic debating skills and can write a good argument to support a case, does not mean that the case they present is actually correct either in secular terms or in faith terms. My bullying elder brother once proved to me that the sun was green, and another time proved that I was wearing my trousers upside down. It had nothing to do with truth, only debating skill.

You don't have to be a Christian to write this 'theology' stuff. You don't even have to know God to write it. Much like an academic could write a Phd on my wife, and never really know her, while although I am never going to have a Phd I do know my wife better than anyone else does.

So why should I trust an academic you does not have the life of Christ in them when they try to interpret scripture and the church fathers? The Christian faith is not about academic proofs -its about the life of God in a person's heart.

Much of Mrs theology course at present is about pluralism, and how 'the uniqueness of Christ' is an obstacle to religious harmony (read 'world peace'). This view fails to account for the presence of a real life Satan, and real life demonic forces, whose favourite occupation is deceiving people with lies that are 99% true, and the 1% lie is that 'if you live a mostly good life and try your best God will accept you, there is no need to go through Jesus, he was just a good example'. So there are lots of 'good' religions in which people behave really well - better than most Christians. But salvation is by the redemption we receive in Christ, not by being mostly nice, and each week in the temples of their religions they deny Christ, and so deny their opportunity for salvation.

Why should I listen to an academic who doesn't know God and views all religions as merely local cultural variations of the same ultimate deity?

The only thing with these people is that they are quite useful for poking us in our myths of "The church has ALLWAYS taught that...."

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