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.dictionary.reference.com
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 persondictionary.reference.com
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?"Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version)
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."
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...
othersWe 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!