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Theology Surfacing

There is one time in a person’s life when their theology shows up.  In fact, if you could read their mind, you could tell a lot about their theology during this one particular time – when they are in pain.

I’m in pain right now.  In fact, I’m typing this with one eye open and one eye closed.  My toes are wiggling, and that happens when I’m watching a movie or when I’m in pain.  I’m biting my lip and taking short breaths.  These are the things I do when I’m in pain…those things and recognize that my theology has risen into a very overt and conscious place – as I believe everyone’s does.

So, in a moment of vicodin-induced lucidness I will reveal to you what I am thinking right now and hopefully help us both understand the cross of Christ a little better.  Of course, there’s the chance that I’ll fall asleep mid posting and wake up to find that none of this makes sense and none of it is true, but I am usually pretty truthful…especially when drugged.

I begin asking questions when I’m in pain.  Maybe you do too: Why am I having to go through this?  Asking this question reveals something about what I think of God.  Namely that God has walked me into this pain – and for a reason.  That means that I must believe that God is  both a little bit mean and trying to teach me something.  It is entirely possible that both of those things are untrue, and I’m just in pain because my back is part of the body of a human.

My situation has something to do with what I’m going through, I believe.  I am a firm believer that stress has to make its way out of the body in some way.  I’m not a regular exerciser.  I don’t do yoga.  I have not found yelling into a pillow or at someone to be very productive at releaving stress – tends to make my pillow angry at me.  Nope, for me my back tends to send out a message to all the muscles that support it that says, “Hey, back muscles! You know what we haven’t done in a while?  Have a family reunion.  Let’s all do our best to meet at a central location for a week or two.”  And they inevitably do.

I’m feeling stress right now.  My heart and my mind know that God is in charge of all the things that are going on in my life.  My heart and my mind work hard to produce the types of words and phrases to my friends and family that will relieve any stress in them over circumstances.  The problem is that there is no fooling my body.  It knows when it is feeling stress and it knows it has to deal with it.

Back to God.  I have a feeling that God is trying to teach me something.  Not entirely sure what that thing is.  Maybe it has to do with Lent and walking toward the cross with Christ.  Sharing in the suffering of Christ.  Maybe it has to do with trusting God to oversee the purchasing of a building for our church to meet in and minister out of.  Maybe it has to do with something I’m as of yet clueless about.  But it certainly says something about my theology, doesn’t it?

I must believe that God brings about pain to motivate me into or out of something.  Now, I consider myself a pretty sound Christian thinker.  I also think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on who God is (for a fella of 36 years old – which is to say I know I haven’t got a clue).  And so I know that my God is not a vindictive or cruel God, but a merciful one who loves me.

But these truths remain: I am in pain – the kind of pain that bumps me right up next to the expletives when I am trying to get my kids ready for school in the morining.  The kind of pain that makes my fuse short when I’m driving and the person in front of me who is dropping off their kid at school stops dead in the middle of the road to have a long kissy-miss-you-while-you’re-at-school-sweetykins moment with their kid.  The kind of pain that has me laid up on the couch asking questions about God and questioning God’s motives.

I guess, before I sign off here and start watching my annual Lenten movie watching of “Chocolat” with Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche, I just wanted to pass along the identification of theology to you.  You, me, everyone is a theologian all the time.  What we think of God and ourselves is always there, unfortunately it takes pain sometimes to bring it to the surface.

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