There’s no place for bad theology

Occasionally my students will ask me religious / God questions, as I’m known by way of my BEing that I am a follower of Christ. I take all their questions in stride, more often than not I will answer their questions with even more questions.

However the questions gravitate sometimes to something dark, something more personal than not. It is evident in some of the questions that my students ask me about God and matters concerning God that they’ve been sold that God loves them with conditions. I have also addressed questions concerning the love of God, which sadly someone of my students believe God doesn’t love certain people.

When I address the question concerning God’s love for them I let them know why they think that, quite often they believe it’s what they do that earns God’s love, and if what they’ve done or what they are doing now isn’t good then God doesn’t love them. I do what I can to encourage them to do good, for themselves and for others, but I bring to light that there’s nothing we can do to make God love us more or make God love us less. God’s love remains the same whether we make good choices or bad choices, but that shouldn’t deter us to do the right thing when we need to.

When I address matters about God not loving certain people, I usually get several things about this question:
1. So often it’s someone in their own lives, past or present.
2. It’s something they may have heard often, at home or at church.
3. The moral highroad is taken. That they of course are loved by God, but x person isn’t.

Depending on how heated the conversation is, because sometimes it is and sometimes it’s a matter-of-fact statement made, I usually say the following;

There’s no place for bad theology

I let it be known that some views of God are really destructive, especially when marginalization and exclusion takes place. I bring it back home to them if they’re having issues with my thoughts, I bring up would they like to be the ones perceived as being unloved by God? It’s amazing how quickly NO is the given answer, and sometimes “but…” is followed with a rebuttal in tow, but that is rarely the case.

I have been affected others by bad theology in my life, I have also been the victim of bad theology, and I realize the ripples it has caused on my soul and for those who have been a victim to my bad theology I am truly sorry.
If you’ve been a perpetrator or victim of bad theology, it’s never too late to make a difference in the lives of others by sowing seeds of good theology. How does one go about sowing these seeds, I like the following acronym called THINK;

Sometimes…
A lot of the time…
ALL the time, we need to THINK about what we’re putting out to others and unto ourselves. It can be a laborious process, but I think (see what I did there?) with practice it’ll become habitual.

So be an agent of change,
be a THINKer,
and as Rob Bell so eloquently put it; “everyone should be everything they’re here to be.”

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

When (and why does) bad theology happen to good people

I recently bore witness to a guy talking about his daughter’s son recently passed away from Sudden Unexplained Death In Childhood (SUDC). He talked about how devastated his daughter was, but he also stated how his church addressed the issue by stating that “everything happens for a reason” and he took that answer in stride…I, despite not involved in anyway, was devastated- for the woman who lost her son unexpectedly, but also this pronouncement the church fed him.
It works me up, it pisses me off when I get a whiff of bad theology. Whether Christianese cliche phrases to explain away pain, hurt, suffering, et al. and while sometimes the reason is no reason, that leaves me wondering; do you honesty hear what you’re saying? Would you like to be on the receiving end of that?

A while ago I found a list of the 10 cliches Christians shouldn’t never use, and the one I heard this guy say tops the list. I think it tops the list because of the common denominator that all humans can relate to is pain; not all pain looks the same, but it certainly ties us together. So when pain get paired with bad theology I wonder where is God in all of it. God’s there in the pain and the suffering, but I am certain to the core of me that God is not present in the bad theology, and perhaps the head of God shakes in dismay for such pithy remarks.
I know that if I lost a child, I would want people to be present, and preferably people present in silence. Yes silence can be awkward, silence can be troubling to some, but silence paired with presence can be healing. I don’t need theology in doing, but rather being, and if I knew the woman who lost her son I would be with her because I believe that is what Jesus would do/be as well.

So please, stop bad theology where you can, stop hurting with words and be with those who suffer because wouldn’t you want someone to be there with you when you suffer?

~Nathanael~