I am going to try and do a post like this once a week, they will be entitled Pastoral Pause. These posts will be moments where I pause and attempt to summarize all that I have been writing on throughout that particular week, and where I will seek to explain why I think whatever I might be writing upon in that week has important pastoral and real life implications and consequences. Recently I have had an unnamed person tell me that they have (basically) been observing my blog posts (and Facebook posts) over time, and that what I am doing is fine as a hobby (like academic theology is what they said), but that, in the end, all of my musing about deep theological things really is too abstract and aloof to have any value for real life daily Christianity; for affecting real life change in the lives of real life people, who are broken and hurting. This person suggested that I ought to abandon my writings, readings, and thinkings in the regard that I usually do; and instead, they suggested, that I engage in real life Christianity, by loving people, ministering to their needs through showing care and concern, and meet people’s real needs, spiritually. This person thought I should simply relegate all of my theological musings, etc. to an abstract category known as Hobby.
Let me be very real and frank and personal (if I cussed, I would right now). I make absolutely NO apologies for being who I am (insofar as that magnifies Jesus, and comes from Him), and who the LORD has created me to be (in Christ)! Where I am, and who I am (and am continuing to become) are a result of years and years (now) of going through dire and deep stuff (and I’m not just referring to the cancer). Without getting into all of the details of my life, I think deeply and have deep concerns for God’s people (Christ’s church), because that is who the Lord has created me to be; so to deny this part of me (which is my whole part), would be to deny myself, and to deny myself, would be to deny Christ in me, the hope of glory! There are thousands and thousands of other Christians out there who think deeply (and/or who want to), and who are groping to find answers to their deepest theological questions. It is neither loving or caring to force these people into a mode where they suppress their deepest questions, and end up living their Christian lives in Fundy fear. In other words, it makes absolutely no sense to me to divorce thinking from loving. I have tried to live like that, and it (almost) literally drove me crazy (and I mean that!). The best I know how to do is to show God’s love to people, by surely, being sensitive to them, by listening to them, by praying with and for them, and then by pointing them to Christ (which is profoundly given shape by deep heartfelt thought and thus love of Christ).
This post has turned into something more than I had anticipated when I started writing it. I am not going to be solely doing these posts once a week because of this one person’s comments from Facebook, but they do represent an attitude that needs to be corrected (drastically) in many quarters of the American Evangelical church (if not elsewhere)! I want people to see how so called academic theology and pastoral theology (and Christian spirituality) are not equivocal, should not be divorced from each other; but instead these two realities ought to be understood as one and the same. Pastoral theology is simply the applied side of Academic theology; Pastoral Theology is akin to Principalization and Application in Inductive Bible Study, as is Academic Theology with Observation and Interpretation—and all of this is given regulative value through the only proper and Christian ‘rule of faith’ who is Christ Himself. And so this series of posts will be an attempt to draw lines between what is usually academic theology here on the blog, to its application and implication in Pastoral Theology; and just an attempt to make the connections that are often hard to make for some people (and I mean seeing how and why understanding the Covenant of Works or Perichoresis or whatever is significant for our daily lives).
So stay tuned …