Monday, October 01, 2007

Theological Simpleton


A friend of mine was, IMHO, insulted today with a phrase that has not left my head since I read it. This phrase was...
Theological Simpleton
...and you know something... I love it! Its such an anti-insult... it is so far from being an insult I actually consider it a compliment. Why?

Well... I like simple things. Things that do what they say they'll do. Good design should be simple... efficient... less is more... I hope you get what I mean.

Theology is defined as...
The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.

From this definition there is a lot to learn... and its kind of scary to think we could try to study God and His nature.

A simpleton is defined as...
an ignorant, foolish, or silly person

Note the use of foolish in this definition. It is important to me... because it makes me think of some words the Apostle Paul used to the church in Corinth...
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Corinthians 1:26-27 (New International Version)

Maybe... just maybe... theological simpletons are there so that God can shame the "wise" in our very midst? We can spend all our time trying to understand the nature of God and rationally comprehend the "big questions"... and completely miss the point! We can debate and discuss and converse about all the intricacies of this school of thought versus that school of thought... and all the time people walk by... empty... forgotten... dispossessed... poor... dirty... ashamed! The very people we are called to help.

That's why I like simple theology... and why I regard myself as a Theological Simpleton... because I don't have enough time in the day to worry about the details... I am too busy being salt and light... trying [and failing] to live a life of love as my Saviour would have wanted.
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version)

That's my kind of theology... do you know why? because its the kind of thing the empty... forgotten... dispossessed... poor... dirty... ashamed folk we meet everyday can get behind... can understand and relate to.

My Founder... William Booth... put it so simply and so eloquently when he sought to send a word of encouragement to his soldiers via telegram... and only could put down one word... the telegram read...
We need to stop looking inwards and start living outwards... its a time for being in a world of others! Its a time for living out God's Grace in our lives... and not getting hung up on the finer points that... IMHO serve to divide rather than unite.

If you spend more time with your head in a theology book... than being with people... then there is something wrong! The world doesn't need more authors or conference speakers or platform-only people... and neither does our Lord. He wants people with a heart for Him and a hand for those that surround them. Let's think about the application... and not just the theory.

This is why I say... My name is Thomas aka Headphonaught and I am...

a Theological Simpleton!

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Anonymous said...

I like you. You seem like such a nice guy with your head in the right place.

I wish I lived close enough to grab a cofee with you.

Anonymous said...

OK, Who called your friend this?

Do I need to sort them out?

Anonymous said...

Thomas - I too took it as a compliment... especially when I found out the source of the criticism.

I am Pernell, and I am a theological simpleton too. Shorten it, and just call me "Pernellton."

Thanks for you comments here, and for your backing me up on my blog as well.

Peace, my friend, the simpleton.

caldjr said...

Amen brother. striving for simplicity too. See ya Sunday and we can be simple together!!

Johnny said...

Kinda reminds me of the old "I'm with Stupid" tees.

Maybe I should get an "I'm with the theological simpleton" one made up?

Good post, Thomas



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