I love having this blog as a place to process and dialogue on matters of faith. I find that on this blog I am consistently being challenged by the comments of others and learning as we wrestle through theology together. But I have to say that wrestling with theology on a blog is completely different from the dynamic of wrestling through theology as a pastor.
Blogs tend to work well for opinionated outward processors like myself. Anytime I have an idea or an insight I can throw a few paragraphs up on the web in a matter of minutes. But I am learning that connecting theology with real people in the church is a lot more difficult. This week I have had two very eye-opening conversations with people from my church. In these conversations questions of theology were brought up but in the context of many other rather heartbreaking issues. What was needed in these conversations wasn't some pat theological stance but rather someone who would listen, and enter in to their struggles. I realized that a good dose of humility is needed in any conversation about theology, truth, or scriptures particularly when it is tied to very hard situations in life. At the end of the day I want these people to connect with the One who is the Truth more than siding with whatever understanding I may have on smaller truths.
While pastors no doubt need to have good theology, I am convinced that theology needs more input from pastors and practitioners as well. One of my favorite authors is N. T. Wright. Wright is not just a brilliant bible scholar and theologian but he has also been very active in the church throughout his career. He truly loves the church and this comes through in his writings. While some Bible scholars are content to hide away in the world of academia, Wright makes sure that even the most lofty ideas of which he writes can connect with everyday people in the church.
Pastoring is teaching me to put relationship over beliefs and to love and walk through theology with people rather than just trying to give people the right answers. I am still a work in progress on this but I am thankful for the opportunity to grow in this area that pastoring affords.