I have long advocated that the most significant conversations i’ve had about theology tend to take places in the pub. Transfarmer, smallcorner and a few others help keep this theory alive in a long conversation about lots of things, partly how we read the Bible and think about it. On that topic I’ve just started Scot McKnight’s Blue Parakeet which is proving interesting reading.
So right and wrong. Are we missing the point by constantly being so worried about what is right and what is wrong? Or maybe its a pharisaic obsession with how we can judge others as right or wrong and in so doing justify ourselves? I’m not talking about obvious things like killing people, perhaps I mean theological nuances. So often we are obsessed with the right way of thinking, of sound doctrine, of having the right theology. Obviously I’m not saying its not important to think and wrestle with this stuff as that’s what I’m doing. But should we be more concerned with following the trajectory of the way of Jesus, obeying all the stuff he taught than looking at others and seeing if they have the right theology and trying to correct them all the time?
Help me out here, as i’m not quite sure wht i’m even trying to articulate.
In the garden Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, wanting to be like God, wanting to define good and evil for themselves. Is this simply our problem, that we are infected with our own desire to define what is right and what is wrong? So much so that we forget, or get distracted from walking the path of Jesus? Is it the case that there is no ‘other’ with God and so are we foolishly trying to define ourselves over and against others all the time instead of living the inclusive life and love of Jesus?
Does anyone know what i’m talking about?
8 thoughts on “pub theology – right or wrong”
definitely with you on the pub thing, otherwise a bit lost…
though as someone with an opinion on virtually every theological nuance (mostly with no authority) then perhaps i should sup my pint more and talk less…
I think good is more important than right.
I like it soapbox… Bonhoeffer has a lot to say about the knowledge of right and wrong in his book on ethics. I’m pretty certain that I have no idea what he’s really saying but here’s a few quotes:
“Jesus demands that the knowledge of good and evil shall be overcome, He demands unity with God.”
His central idea is similar to what you posited above: man has become disunified by his knowledge of good and evil. Man was only ever to know God and his fellow man. For Bonhoeffer Love God and Love Man are the two boundaries of ethical behaviour. It is in Jesus that we see this perfectly fulfilled, thus, by following Jesus we can overcome our disunity caused by the knowledge of good and evil and instead relate to God and not our incomplete version of ethics.
Finally, if we don’t know if what we’re doing is right or wrong we have to rely solely on the grace of God that he will accept us…
This is what I used to think anyway but now I’m not so sure about it. The Bible does talk a lot about right and wrong.
(Sorry for the muddled comment!)
Surely the way of Christ is more important- after all the first followers were called ‘follower’s of the way’… focusing on right doctrine tends to pervert one’s focus towards minutiae rather than throwing one’s gaze beyond black and white to the possibility that “G-D” might be encountered anywhere/everywhere… although with regard to the ‘otherness’ thing- I think THAT is a lifelong challenge- getting that eency-weency boundary between “I-Thou” right/manageable/unembarrassing/affirming etc.
I may as well…
A) You’ve no idea what Jesus said or did… every Christian denomination or sect seems to ‘follow’ a different idea of Jesus … the Jesus you ‘follow’ is the one that you want to ‘follow’
B) Both good and right are subjective, transitory and evolving
C) People are open to all kinds of nutty ideas and wishful thinking when they’ve had-a-few
QuestionMonkey, QuestionMonkey, QuestionMonkey… If I could add in a little smiley who was shaking his head slowly and sighing, I would.
a. ‘Follow’ does not need all those quotation marks. Plus, I do not agree with your point. But mainly I dislike there being so many quotation marks.
b. Only if you don’t think they are objective, unchanging and eternal.
c. People are open to all kinds of nutty ideas and wishful thinking all the time.
Ahhh. pub theology. Beezer.