I finished reading a book called Expressing Theology: A Guide to Writing Theology That Readers Want to Read. This is not only an excellent book for seminary students, but also bloggers who write about theological matters. I found these two passages very thought-provoking and convicting. They remind the writer to remember and respect her audience. First, the need for humility:
Theology requires a humble approach, but not an in-your-face screaming match. . . Don't lecture your audience; join with them to explore. When prose oozes a know-it-all, better-than-you, shut-up-and-listen-to-me, put-down attitude, readers stop reading.There are a number of blogs which I have stopped reading because of that kind of approach. And I know I have written that way in the past. It is unappealing. Second, pay attention to our words:
Don't commit the sin of jargon. Jargon reeks of insider language. Jargon encapsulates the horizon of soteriological processes encircled by the memoria passionis, mortis, et resurrectionis Jesu Christi and embedded by the Sitz im Leben of the here and hereafter eschatology . . . Jargon leaves outsiders in the dark. You want to bring people into the light of beautiful, clear words.And if we really need to use theological terms -- and we should because they are helpful -- make sure we explain them.
When there is so much suffering in the world and suffering among people you love, it is easy to get overwhelmed. I've gone back to this quote multiple times in the past few weeks from Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering by Kelly Kapic, which I finished reading earlier this year. It is always good to be reminded that we can pour out our hearts to a "God who hears and acts."
[W]e need to be honest about the pain of lament and why we are inclined to avoid it. It hurts. And if we fully and completely felt the lament of this broken and sinful world, it would crush any and all of us. We know that because it crushed Jesus. But thanks be to God, this Jesus also rose from the depths of despair and from the grave. He rose and lives even now. For now, let us simply appreciate that we are allowed, even invited, to lament. Yet we must take those laments to God since they will not crush him.
Rebecca:Yahweh can absorb our frustrations; he doesn't fret before our questions; he is able to respond to our concerns. We must never forget "what ultimately shapes biblical lament is not the need for the creature to cry its woe, but the faithfulness of the God who hears and acts."
In his chapter on The Trinity and Worship in The Essential Trinity, Robert Letham comments that many of the great historical prayers of the church, including those in The Book of Common Prayer, are filled with teaching about God as triune. "[T]hey contain a nucleus of trinitarian expressions," he writes, "that can be internalized in the minds of the faithful."
He goes on to make this observation:
One wonders how much of the decline in appreciation of the Trinity is due to exclusively unguided extemporaneous prayer. At times of theological strength and spiritual vitality this may be fine, but when decline sets in there is nothing to check it. I am not suggesting that written liturgical prayer should be the exclusive, or even the main, diet of church worship. However, it can and does provide a backbone, a foundation, for the prayers of the church.