“I mean, we could keep talking about this theology mumbo-jumbo, but I’d rather us talk about this in a way that matters...that means something.”
During undergrad I worked in Residence Life for two years, one as an RA and the second as an Assistant Director of our building. As part of this job, I would walk through the building at least one night a week to see what was going on, check on our RA’s to make sure they were surviving, and also to make sure their halls weren’t in shambles.
On one of these nights, I stumbled into a quasi-Bible study one of the RA’s was holding with his residents. I sat in for a while listening to their conversation, and at some point I heard one of the residents speak this quote. Immediately my ears shot up, and I listened for another fifteen minutes to see how the other guys would respond to this. Or to see if it even registered to them in any way.
Not too long after this, the RA holding the event asked for my opinion on their conversation. I backtracked to the point the resident made about “theology mumbo jumbo” and asked him, and the rest of the room, about that statement. And then went on to rant for an hour about theology.
That might not have been the best use of anyone’s time, or the wisest way to handle things (who likes rants, amirite), but I couldn’t get past those use of words. Why call theology “mumbo jumbo”? What was his intent? What were the words behind the words?
After my rant, I talked with a small group of them for another hour about just that, including that particular resident. Through the night one thing became very clear: theology is just so confusing.
It’s not that I didn’t already realize this. I was in my senior year of a degree in Bible and theology. I was quite aware that I had only experienced the surface of the complexities of the field. But these guys all wanted to talk about faith, God, and life yet they didn’t think they could talk about theology. They needed to know something that I’d scream from the rooftops: Everybody does theology.
Theology is about just that. Theology is the place in our minds that we consider faith, God, and life. Why do bad things happen to good people? Was that God trying to tell me something? What do we even mean when we talk about God?
We all do theology.
KNOW is Anchor’s way of showing people just how we do theology and how that process influences our lives as Christians. Our goal is to encourage those who go through the course to be willing to engage in the practice of theology, with themselves and with others.
Recently I talked with a friend who is getting her Ph.D. at the same seminary as me about Uber drivers and their responses when we answer the inevitable “So what do you do?” question with “I study theology.” Our experiences were the same. Uber drivers love talking about theology. Because everybody is a theologian.
People are ready to talk about theology, but not many know that they know how. And that’s what KNOW is designed for.
KNOW is not the complete and comprehensive guide to theology. KNOW doesn’t have all the answers to life’s biggest questions. KNOW is not the equivalent of a Ph.D. in theology.
But it is an honest attempt to get ourselves thinking about faith, God, and life.
We all do theology. Let’s do it together as a community.