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07 January 2019

We’re wrong about God, y’know.

The quest for knowledge always begins by knowing we don’t know—and wrong about what we think we know.

One of my favorite Peanuts strips goes a little something like this. (I liked it so much I used to include it in the Theology banner.)

Peanuts, 9 August 1976. Peanuts Worldwide

Theology is the study of God. If we’re gonna follow God we gotta study him. Gotta find out what he wants, what he expects of us. Heck, gotta find out if he’s even a “he,” and we’re not using the wrong pronoun. (Fastest way to yank the chain of certain Christians: Use a different one. But let up after you’ve freaked them out a few minutes. Be nice.)

Square One of theology is humility, the recognition of who we truly are. And who are we? Well, the usual Christian response to that question is “Um… nobody really.”

Which isn’t entirely true. That’s the answer we give ’cause our fellow Christians expect it of us… and it’s hypocrisy. It’s pretending to be, what we deep down know we aren’t. It’s false humility. We don’t have that low an opinion of ourselves. If we did, we’d figure ourselves totally unworthy of God, and never bring ourselves to study him. In fact for some Christians, they do have that low an opinion of themselves, and don’t study him.

So let’s set the B.S. aside and get honest: We suspect we can know God, or at least know him better. And that’s good! God wants us to know him better. It’s why he sent us Jesus. It’s why he made us—to answer that “who are we?” question definitively—adoptive daughters and sons of the most high God. Jn 1.12 That ain’t nothing. We’re precisely the people who should study God.

Theology is the birthright of every Christian. Any Christian who doesn’t bother to investigate their Father is destined to have a really sucky, substandard, dysfunctional relationship with him. Which surely isn’t what he wants. Hope you don’t either.

So yeah, we need to get into theology. We need to study God. All of us. You included.