Thinking Theologically: Planning our Future Needs to be Informed and Shaped by our Theology
One of the most significant lessons that Martin Luther’s Small Catechism teaches is learning to ask, “What does this mean?” Unfortunately many prefer to recite memorized explanations from the catechism rather than accepting Luther’s invitation to engage with him in exploring answers to the question.
Whenever we ask, “What does this mean?” or “Why?” or “How did you get that idea?” and the like, we are also theologians. Of course, learning to ask the right questions doesn’t necessarily result in the right answers or sometimes any answer at all, but it is always worthwhile.
Fortunately there are theologians who are willing to try to help us to continue to think theologically. They take our questions very seriously. While some of their answers became far too dense for most to us to understand, many do help us to get involved in the discussion.
Some say that we Lutherans have a peculiar theology. I like the description “peculiar.”
At best it defines our theological approach as distinctive, special and particular. Lutherans often provide thoughtful theological input as they participate in ecumenical and interfaith matters. Sadly there are also times when we must confess to being seen as somewhat odd, curious and eccentric.
At our worst we are disruptive, argumentative and destructive. At our best we are helpful, encouraging and enlightening.
In the cover article, What is the Church?, we learn something about what happens when pastors and deacons from around the world get together to explore that question and others.
What they learned together will also help us all to think more deeply about what the Church is, how ministry is done and how authority and servanthood is meant to function in our church.
As we emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is wondering about where we need to go from here as we face difficult challenges and choices. When we in the church begin to explore answers, we particularly must remember how our answers need to be informed and shaped by our theology.
Sharing experiences of hope in Practising Our Faith continues with the promise that God will not leave you abandoned (p. 9).
Learn how the use of loopholes and deductions when paying our taxes has an element of graciously accepting forgiveness (Q & A, p. 15)
The oldest active Lutheran congregation in Canada is celebrating its 250th anniversary (p. 28).
From Philip the Evangelist, in Voices from Scripture (p. 31) we learn how entering into new and rich relationships may surprise us or take us in new directions.