Today we are starting a new series — D.I.Y. THEOLOGIAN. Let me tell you the heart of this series right of the bat. The person who needs to be the biggest advocate for your Spiritual health is YOU. Your understanding of God. Your commitment to God. Your dependence on God Whether you are “growing” or not growing. Whether or not your are a clear representation of Christ. Whether or not your life choices are animated and motivated by Christ. Your building of your THEOLOGY — UNDERSTANDING OF GOD — IS UP TO YOU. The biggest ADVOCATE for your SPIRITUAL HEALTH HAS TO BE YOU.
While we are meant to be communal. While we were designed to NOT do this alone. While we need help. While teaching, training, perspective, insights… are NEEDED. THE GREATEST ADVOCATE FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL HEALTH HAS TO BE YOU.
That is not rocket science, but, for me that’s not always what my process of faith has been like. I have forgotten that or have relaxed that or blamed, or give excuses. It’s easy to just let it slide, to not think about it. Our PRAYER is that this series would help YOU OWN IT for yourself. But also, our PRAYER is that this series would be motivated to help and that you would have empathy for others. What others are experiencing. Challenges they are facing. Obstacles that SEEM insurmountable. Empathy does not lead us to DO IT ALL FOR OTHERS. The ideal is seeing how we can help other help themselves…
The stepping off points that we are going to use in this series are common twists of scripture. Common misinterpretations. Believe it or NOT, sometimes people MISINTERPRET, sometimes people TWIST, sometimes people take things OUT OF CONTEXT, sometimes people MISS IT. Taking what is, taking what is said and done, AND TWISTING IT or MISSING IT.
The reason that we are using MISINTERPRETED moments as jumping off points is because the realizing that there is potential to MISINTERPRET can be CRIPPLING, because maybe I don’t want to GET IT WRONG, I dont want to broadcast my wrongness to everyone, I don’t want to get it WRONG. So I am not even going to try. It’s safer to just NOT TRY. I don’t want to be a KNOW IT ALL. I don’t want to be annoying. I don’t want to be THAT GUY. I don’t want to be OFFENSIVE. I don’t like that guy — I don’t want to be THAT GUY.
Maybe I feel like if I am going to get it right, it is only going to be because of an ACCIDENT. Who am I? What training have I had? People have been getting it WRONG for generations. How could I have anything to offer? If I got something right it would only be an accident…
These feelings — perspectives are REAL — even VALID, but here is the PROBLEM. We need to be our biggest advocate for Spiritual health. It is easy to feel paralyzed in building personal theology. Hear that for yourself. Hear that for other people that are in your life. I don’t want to be WRONG, KNOW IT ALL, or JUST LUCKY. So what do we do? Maybe this isn’t you, or maybe it is… But you are surrounded by people that may be there. So what do we do?
Our mission here are Corner Church is NOT to help people become dependent on OTHERS TO GROW. Dependent on church, christians, pastors… yuck. The questions we must ask ourselves are: What do I believe? What do I think? What do I say. Maybe I feel like I DON’T KNOW. I feel like I need to ask the PASTOR. I feel like I need to ask GOOGLE. I feel like at minimum I need to ask AN EXPERT.
ALL WHILE BEING DEPENDENT ON COMMUNITY… I know that is a paradox, but we NEED TO BE OUR GREATEST ADVOCATES and WE NEED OTHERS. So with that said, what is an expert? How do you know when you have become an expert? What are the implications of becoming an expert? Do only expert opinions or thoughts count? What happens if you disagree with the “expert’? What do you do when you realize that in your workplace, in your home, with your friends, in your neighborhood… You are THE RELIGIOUS EXPERT. You are the RESIDENT THEOLOGIAN….
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “theology”?
What is theology?
What makes someone a theologian?
We believe a lot of things. Maybe some right things, maybe some wrong things. Christians in general believe a lot of things. Let me say the obvious. Often times Christians, well meaning, really good christians, believe things differently than other similar Christians. Good christians sometimes disagree with eachtoher.
People think christians believe a lot of weird things, maybe they are right in thinking Christians believe strange things AND the Christians are right, maybe they are right in thinking Christians believe strange things AND and the Christians are wrong.
What are some things Christians believe that may not be true?
I am going to read a list of some things some people may believe, that may not necessarily be true:
- Believe and you will be wealthy
- God wants to make your life easy
- God will do whatever you ask Him
- Prayer is about getting stuff
- Tithing is a divine pyramid scheme
- If you really believe you will be healed. 100%
- God doesn’t care as long as you don’t kill anyone
- God is really disappointed in you
- God is always angry
- God hates “bad” people
- God is Santa
- If you don’t believe in God, you don’t know right from wrong
- A Godly home guarantees Godly children
- When someone dies, they become an angel
- God destroyed ______ with a hurricane (or fire or whatever)
- God has a white beard and sits in the clouds watching us
- Fossils were put here by God to test our faith
- If my pastor said it, then it must be true
- God only speaks to pastors
Theology is “the study of the nature of God and religious belief.” If you have ever thought or had any sort of opinion about God you are already engaging in theology. It is important to be a DIY theologian, to think critically, to question, to seek truth.
The secret truth of being a pastor is that I/we read the same Bible as you. We don’t have any special connection to God. Faith is not simply believing whatever the guy behind the pulpit is saying. It’s about wrestling with the truth of scripture yourself. It’s about engaging in the process that is faith. You see, faith isn’t something that someone else can do for you. It’s not a one time decisions and it completed. Faith is something we must own for ourselves, we must honestly investigate and discover.
Thinking back in your faith life. No matter where you are at… WHAT IMPACTS YOUR FAITH? What has? What is? What do you think will? What is something that you have done that has affected your faith journey? What has nudged you, transformed you, refined you?
What is something that has affected your faith journey? Your Theology?
Jesus, before he started his public ministry, to this point he was born, had this interactions with shepards and wisemen. He was pointed out in the temple as a special child. He was a refuge in Egypt. Comes back to Israel and still has to hide. Has a moment where people are impressed with his wisdom as a kid. He is baptized, then before he calls his disciples, before he heals, teaches, empowers, calls, leads….
He goes out into the wilderness. HE FASTS FOR 40 DAYS. THEN THE DEVIL COMES AND TEMPTS HIM.
Matthew 4:1–11 (Luke 4:1–13)
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Deuteronomy 6:16)
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Deuteronomy 6:13)
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Jesus was physically weak, Jesus was emotionally spent, Jesus was facing ISSUE, and then in that moment Jesus had scripture RINGING IN HIS HEAD. Jesus was clearly shaped by Deuteronomy. Jesus’ theology helped to guide him through time of temptation. Jesus had a THEOLOGY and that UNDERSTANDING CAME OUT IN HIS RECITING SCRIPTURE
This is not an isolated instance, in fact WE TOO are encouraged to engage in the study of scripture
2 Timothy 3:14–17
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
It’s clear that we, each of us individually have a responsibility to engage in the process of faith. It may be hard. We may be wrong at times. There may be moments of I don’t know, there will be… Our job is the engage in the process, not to have all the answers. How do we engage in the process? How can we go deeper?
How do you start the process of building a personal theology?
How can you go deeper from where you are now?
What do you do about different theology? Different perspective? Different interpretation?
A professor of mine always encouraged us to have an OPEN HANDED THEOLOGY. A THEOLOGY THAT IS LACED WITH HUMILITY. A theology that asks us to not be selfish, asks us to not be hidden about our beliefs, asks us to be willing to have healthy good conversation, asks us to value the person who thinks differently. Theology developed behind walls and closed doors is no use to anyone, but a theology that is in honest process helps everyone around them grow and learn about who God is. Humility in theology is key.
1 Corinthians 3:18
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.
If we are struggling to be cordial to other Christians who disagree with us then we really have no business sharing our conclusions about the Bible with anyone.
What do you do if someone has a different theology than your own?
Scripture should affect our lives. It should make an impact. It should change things. I hope that it has affected your life. Let’s take a moment to think about the impact scripture has made on your life. Sometime this week share this impact with someone