Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday, 24 February 2008

For the last few weeks, I've been driving up from Grayson (Kentucky) to Columbus (Ohio) every Sunday afternoon. The purpose of the trips is to teach my theology class at East Pointe Christian Church.

It's been a blast. I really enjoy the people there, and theology is my favorite thing to teach. The trip is a little over 2.5 hours, which is enough to unwind but not too much, and the scenery is nice.

How do I approach theology? A lot of storytelling; a lot of reading texts and asking, "Why does he do this?" and "What does THAT mean?" and "Does this teach us something about relating to God?", etc. Here's an example:

Genesis 15: Abraham has been walking with God for 25 years. God comes to Abe and says, "It's me, Abraham, the one who protects and takes care of you." And Abraham says, "Gee, God, that's nice. But I don't have a kid yet, and I'm starting to get old. Don't you think it's time?"

And God takes Abe out and shows him the stars: "That's how many children you're going to have." And "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

Then I ask:
  • What does it mean "Abe believed God"? Does that = Abe decided that God was telling him the truth? Or is there something deeper there, some kind of surrender or commitment beyond agreeing on a cognitive / intellectual level?
  • What does it mean that God credited something to Abraham as righteousness? What is God determining or promising to do?
Then I continue:

So Abraham entrusts himself to God, but he wants something more. So he asks: How do I know this promise is true? And God has him bring out animals and cut them in half, and lay the halves so that there's a path between them. This is an ancient covenant ceremony; you and the person you're entering the covenant with walk together between the halves of the animals. The point: if YOU break the covenant, they can cut you in half. And if THEY break the covenant, you can cut them in half.

Only Abraham doesn't walk between the halves. God walks through alone.

Then I ask: What's the point? Why does God walk through and Abe doesn't?

Etc., etc. Stories lead to theology. It's not about propositions, it's about the Redemptive Acts of God.

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