Monday, June 6, 2011

"Where is God?"

"Where is God?" If you've been around children or honest enough adults you've probably heard this question before. The great thing about children is that they don't realize they're questions we shouldn't be ashamed to inquire before others and before God. Being a Pastor, I've had several parents approach with a similar question their children have asked them and inevitably the question is posed to me. Not that mind these questions (in fact I love them!) but I can tell I am approached with these perplexing questions because in some way or another I am seen as a professional or at least practicing theologian (some say the best title for a pastor is a theologian in residence - I wouldn't totally disagree). But since theology is really the simple God-talk we all engage in we're all theologians. That's right, if you don't know it by now, congratulations I officially confer on you the title you already have - theologian. You might not be a degreed theologian or paid for your theological opinions, but nonetheless you area theologian if you've ever uttered or even thought a single thought about God.  In the book Attentive to God the authors imply this definition for such theologians as us, "[those] paying attention to God, and to everything else in its 'God-relatedness.'" Said differently, being a theologian is simply about how we think about God in our world.
At least two things should flow from this. One is that this is an affirmation that God's grace is pervasive in the world (prevenient grace - if you theologians don't know what that is...time to get crackin'!). Secondly, you have a responsibility. This gift is also a responsibility to speak intelligible of God.
There's a story of a Hasidic rabbi who asked rhetorically: Where is God?" He went on to reply: "Wherever we let him in." As responsible theologians allow God to enter your discussions and may they be fruitful (since God is in them, they will)!
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:13-18
What difference does it make to you to think of yourself as a theologian? How is that a gift and a responsibility?
V. 15 implores us to be ready for articulating our beliefs. How ready are you? What can you do to enhance your readiness?
What does v. 16 indicate about how we should speak about God?
What might v. 18 indicate about how we do theology is like Christ? (What was His purpose, what is ours?)
For extra credit: vv. 19-22
What is the importance of these passage? Where is this referenced to in church tradition?

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