Sunday, September 24, 2006

Theological Musings I

Right now, I'm watching the Giants lose miserably (35 to 3 at the half), trying to read my theology reading but getting incredibly distracted by both the game and some guy outside my window playing an African drum. Normally, I would find such a demonstration to be entertaining and amusing, but right now it's imparing my ability to concentrate on the Doctrine of God. Hence, blogging it is.

I realize that I have neglected to say hello to folks popping over via the Methodist Blogroll. *waves* Greetings to all of you!

After my third Sunday in my new "pastor-type" roll, I think I'm settling in quite nicely. It was a big plus that the pastor wanted to ease me in, having knowledge of what it was like to be a student. That was very helpful, and I don't think I could have survived these past few weeks without it.

Even though I can't actually read my theology text at the moment (which really should get done, as I'm not going to do work this evening in favor of friends and the Patriots), I'll ruminate a bit about what we've learned so far in my Systematic Theology class.

Dr. Boesel, first of all, is a great teacher. For someone like me who needs concrete pictures of what is going on, he is fantastic. His basic method of teaching us consists of the construction of two theological paradigms, denoted "A" and "B". As one might imagine, one is more resonant of "conservative" viewpoints, the other is more "liberal" (strictly theologically speaking, not politically so). These broad paradigms (meant to capture the extremes) are further broken down into A1, A2, B1, B2, etc...

Last week, we learned about how these different paradigms view revelation, the notion of God's self-disclosure to humankind. B's take a more "universal presence" form of God's revelation, while A's are more about how God revealed God's self to a particular people/persons at a particular time and space. How these groups integrate the 4 sources of theology (Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience) varies even within the broad paradigm.

As far as I am....I don't know where I truly am on the spectrum, or even if I'm on it. Without describing the paradigms (as I am now pressed for time), I can only say that pieces of the A2 and B1 appeal to where I currenly am theologically, but there are elements involved that neither of them take into consideration, and I'm definitely not midway between the two (or if I was, it would be like I was above the midpoint, working off of a slightly different but perhaps parallel paradigm). I think community is important, I think that God's universally present and it is a valid source of revelation, but that God does intervene actively in history. I like Barth in that the Bible is not the revelation, but a witness to it, but I also highly value other sources of theology.

Who knows. Maybe I'll invent my own position...paradigm M.

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