Theology seems to be getting a bad rep lately. Or at least that what my Twitter and Facebook feed have been telling me (which I'm not 100% sold that journalists speak for the the greater faith community at large as much as they project that they do). Many are the voices in my young generation in particular are calling out for authenticity and "just loving and following Jesus." However, "just loving and following Jesus" for many of them means putting to rest things such as theology and doctrine.
Included in this generation is me (and hopefully others too), and I'm going to say that I'm not for that at all. It's not even a logical conclusion to be making, and shallow thought-processing. (So no, journalists and bloggers alike do not speak for a whole generation.)
This mindset sorta saddens and confuses me. It's confusing because even making a statement about not practicing theology, is practicing theology. Are we seriously too blind to realize that? Maybe the problem then lies in confusing definitions (a growing problem in itself) and word associations. Let's keep it simple then:
Theology: The dwelling on that which is in relation to God. (Studying God and His characteristics, attitudes, and purposes)
How could we even think that's not important, or something as Christians we can abdicate and remove ourselves from? We cannot divorce loving God from pursuing truth. By doing so we're separating ourselves from the heart of the Father. Studying theology and the Bible simply comes down to loving God with our minds (Matt. 22:37), which I believe will then bleed into loving Him with our hearts and souls.
So I love Jesus. I want to follow him. But I also pursue theology and hold to doctrine (because that comes from the Bible, it's not rooted in man-made ideas, even though many a man will argue over them), because I need those things to direct me towards Jesus. We pursue those things to get more of Jesus. That's the true and ultimate motivation, not to debate others 24/7 or use it as ammo to hate others. There is a proper time and place to challenge wrong/troubling teaching that may be going around in the church. Paul did this in many of his letters to the early churches, and he is not faulted for it, nor did he do it out of hate, but love. Love seeks right thinking, and encouraging others towards right thinking.
Every time you and I open our mouths and make a statement about God or we think or dwell on Him... we're being theologians. Seminary degree or not. The real questions are how good of theologians will we be?
If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones! ~C.S. Lewis