Women Theologians on Our Shelves

This week we had our PhD Symposium for the School of Divinity at the University of Aberdeen. My particular area is Practical Theology.

As many things still remain, this was virtual. So I was grateful to be able to easily attend.

In the final session, we had a Q & A panel with the faculty. One question was what are they currently reading and why it is important to them. One member, Dr. Katie Cross, who is a prominent voice in feminist theology today, shared some insights about reading women in theology. From that, she also shared a post by Maggie Dawn, who is herself a professor of theology at St Mary’s College, Durham University. This post lists a plethora of resources on women writers in theology. These women do not just write about women’s issues. They speak into all things theological. And that’s how it is supposed to be!

Interestingly, this is how Maggie Dawn introduces her own post:

Continue reading

Two Mistakes We Make Reading the Bible

book and coffee

I love reading the Bible. I love studying the Bible. I love teaching the Bible.

I will admit I am not the best at teaching it. There are others that surpass me, surpass me significantly. Yet, after a sense of God’s call in my life in 2001 to teach the Bible, going to seminary, and now teaching the Bible for fifteen years both as a pastor and in higher education, I know it is one of my deep loves.

In these fifteen years of studying and teaching the Bible, I have encountered some interesting perspectives on studying the Bible – “prodigal thoughts,” if you will. I have embraced some of these myself, but over time I have learned there are better ways in approaching the study of Scripture.

In all, I would highlight two easy mistakes we make in studying the Bible. Continue reading

Example of Making Abstract Theology More Earthy

I wrote an article this week on the need to put abstract theology to death, or at least dial it back quite a bit. Take a peek if you can.

I received some pushback on the article, both here at the blog and on Facebook. And I welcome the pushback. It helps refine my own thoughts.

My whole point is that, many times when we talk about theology, it is in very lofty, ethereal and abstract terms. It’s not really practical, human, earthy. This happens when we talk about God, Christ, church, salvation and a host of other theological topics. Continue reading

Death to Abstract Theology

abstract art.jpg

My wife studied art at university. She knows a bit about abstract art. I know very little. However, I did find this definition concerning abstract art floating around the web waves.

In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something.

Ok, but what does all this mean?

As I understand it, when something is abstract it is ethereal. It kind of floats out there in space, in air, but it doesn’t really relate to any concrete reality. I suppose you might say it is thought in it’s purest form. Keeping those ideas as ethereal ideas, but never making them real and tangible in life, to humanity.

And, you know what? That’s how theology works so much of the time.

It’s abstract, ethereal, non-tangible, a kind of heavenly, Casper-the-friendly-ghost ruminating about God and faith. We talk a good game, create great conceptual ideas about God and Christ and the Spirit and salvation and redemption and the church and so much more. All one has to do is crack open a 1000-page systematic theology textbook as an example. But they all end up being abstract, heady, and irrelevant to human life on planet earth.

I would offer that’s not a good thing and that we need our abstract theology to be put to death. Continue reading