Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Good Lord's Sense of Humor

Sometimes, God shows up in the most mysterious ways.

When I created this blog, it was under the impression that, in all likelihood, nobody but me would be reading it for awhile, if ever. Guess I was wrong.

One comment, and (probably) one hate-mail in 24 hours.

Talk about popularity. ;-}

If that hate-mail came from this blog, and if whoever sent it is still there, here's my reply. (And if not, here's what I think about what the guy said, just for my own benefit).

I am speaking here not out of hatred, but out of frustration. Frustration at the whole way theology is done in America, on and off the web. And I am speaking out of the sure knowledge that I am also part of the problem.

I am frustrated how people can talk right past each other in issues of eternal import.

I am frustrated at how quickly the talk turns ugly.

I am frustrated at... well, how fallen we all are.

I have been re-reading one of my commentaries on Pascal, just for these reasons. Pascal has a wonderful way of cutting through the cattle manure that so often passes for philosophy (both in and outside of theology) and getting to the point. Pascal's main point here would be that we humans are both divine and devilish - we have been given the reason and self-awareness that makes true communion with God possible, and we turn those gifts inward upon ourselves (and against each other) in pride and rebellion. And certainly theology is not immune to those pitfalls.

I have studied and thought long and hard on such things. Indeed, as I alluded to in my last post, once upon a time I believed I wanted to be a theologian - a professor of theology to be precise. But God has a way of turning one's life upside down, does He not? I guess my biggest frustration is not having an outlet for all this theological steam. Thus, this online primal scream.

Which, according to Pascal, is also vanity. :-/

Kyrie elesion.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Fool's Quest

Pascal once wrote that the truth is so obscured, unless we love it we will never recognize it.

I once thought I wanted to be a theologian (in the professional, paid to do it sense). I still want to be one, even if unpaid. But the job prospects are not terribly inviting.

I have debated, posted, and wrangled with men and women over the teachings of God in one capacity or another for over ten years. And to this day, I cannot begin to comprehend how people come to their theological conclusions, or why. I have seen debates rage over issues great and small - and both sides, who claim devotion to the God of the Scripures and those Scriptures themselves, come to irreconcilably opposite conclusions, and neither will budge. I have fought in those debates myself. I have labored in the understanding that man is rational, and that we must follow what reason and right interpretation tells us no matter the cost.

The only problem is, nobody plays by that rule - even, to my own chagrin, me.

Human beings are rational only to the point where it proves them right. After that, the loopholes appear, the rhetoric ratchets up, the fallacies sprout up like danelions. We do not value being correct so much as being *right*. Ego, not reason, rules the heart and mind of man.

And if that is the case, then whence theology (which is supposed to be the correct thinking about God?) If we won't listen, or admit we're wrong once in awhile...

What's the point of teaching if everyone is a know-it-all?

And isn't it a bit egotistic of me to assume *I'm* more right than anyone else?

Perhaps I need to go back to Pascal for a bit more instruction in humility.

My own private rant

Will anyone read this? I doubt it. But at this stage of the game, I don't really care. I take up my ethereal pen and write all the same.