Started teaching my part of Introduction to Christian Theology yesterday with the session entitled “Theology? Who needs it?!”.
Spent a bit of time getting the class to get their feet wet by discussing in small groups the statement “To love is to know God.” I find getting the students to do something like this and then present their thoughts to the class is a good way to see how they approach theological thinking at the start of the course and what sources they use to do theology.
It was the sources I was keen to get them to start thinking about for themselves. In a week or two we’ll look at the typical sources used in theology, such as scripture, tradition, reason and experience, and others like contemporary culture and art. Tradition is a hard source for many evangelical students to grasp (or even consider) but Maggi’s post tradition and traditionalism has given me some useful starting points to approach it. She says,
But there’s another way of useing (sic) the word tradition. To appeal to tradition as a measure of authority and truth (…) places our efforts at expressing the truth of the gospel in our time and culture in the context of other efforts to do the same, in other times, and in other places.
It’s nice to read blog entries that you feel carry a depth behind them.
Also talked to the class about how I think everyone is a theologian of one sort or another. If you pray, think about the words of a song in church, hold a position that denies God’s existence or try a understand another’s faith you’re doing theology.