Teaching, including St Paul’s teaching, always comes out of a context, which is why there are so many ‘theologies’. Theology, meaning the knowledge of God, comes out of our experience and reading (which in turn is out of someone else’s experience) as we seek to make sense, or as one theologian, Daniel Migliore, put it in the title of his book ‘Faith Seeking Understanding’ (the phrase was orignally from St Anselm).
So this is why there are different theologies with the adjectives of feminist, liberation, progressive, liberal, catholic, evangelical and more. Often within such a label, such as evangelical, is a spectrum from extreme conservatism to broad.
Is one right and all the others wrong? Or might we be seeing another facet of the jewel of faith?
One good thing about being challenged by an alternate theology is that it causes you to look deeper, otherwise Many’s faith would remain at a superficial level which is likely to have no compassion and little love.
Currently there are fierce arguments within the church as to the acceptability of marriage equality, euthanasia, and other matters that divide opinion.
I am sure that within our parish there are very diverse opinions on all these matters. And we can probably all point to some Biblical texts to justify our opinion.
This coming week in Synod there will be debate on these issues, and I hope and pray they will be in a humble and gentle spirit.
While there may be a view that God’s word is clear and indisputable, at the same time we need to pause and consider the Word, as in Christ Jesus, God’s living word, in whose life we examine and through whom we interpret the Scriptures.
Jesus himself reinterpreted the Scriptures, in one sense not letting any of it fall to the ground, but fulfilling the spirit of the law.
But his actions astounded many as he reached out to those considered beyond the pale, and actually gave them particular consideration more than he did the religious. That in itself cause us to pause before passing judgements and making statements.
I was asked how should our parish ‘vote’ in regards to some of the motions.
My reply is that we gather as a Synod to listen to one another, in awareness that the Spirit of God is among us as we discern God’s direction for our church.
We need to listen to one another, to the different theologies, to think and reflect on a deeper level beyond rules, judgments and statements.
We need to have our eyes and ears open to what God is doing out there in the world, God has gone before us, not the other way around.
With love and peace in the Lord, Jennie