Breaking the lightbulbs – silencing theology

There are a number of interesting articles in this month’s Next-Wave Ezine (here) but one stood out as interesting to me, namely, the article ‘Breaking the lightbults – silencing theology’ by George Elerick about putting theology back into its right place, and rediscovering the mystery of God:

We need to unname God. We need to unname Christianity. We need to unname theology, truth, the bible, life and all the things in between. We need to remove the idea that theology and understanding are going to save us, when we do that, then God can save us. When we do that we divorce ourselves from the need to feel in control of synaptic processes of trying to understanding God. We can then let God teach us. Romance us. Woo us. We can then meet God on His/Her Terms. We can then let go of the gods we have created in theology.

I must admit that I don’t completely agree with Elerick’s conclusions but I think I get where he is coming from:

What we need is silence. The Latin word for silence is silentium. Silentium has many meanings, a few include obscurity, stillness and quiet. We need to rescue obscurity from the hands of theology. We need to rescue ambiguity from the Church. This doesn’t mean that we stop talking, what it does mean is that we stop taking ourselves so seriously. What it does mean is that we come to accept the idea that our words fail at fully understanding God and what the being stands for and who’s side He’s/She’s on. Maybe we can rest in the security that not knowing is a better theology than knowing. The more we know, the more we think we have arrived, the more we have arrived the less we need God. We need to embrace a sort of irreverant absurdity when we approach our human understandings of God. If we don’t, we risk the possibility of taking ourselves too seriously and then follow after a god that doesn’t really exist.

Embrace an irreverant absurdity?

Any thoughts?

Read the full article here.

2 thoughts on “Breaking the lightbulbs – silencing theology

  1. Ann van Wijgerden

    I think I get his point about embracing irreverent (rather than irrelevant) absurdity in the sense of not taking ourselves too seriously. The first paragraph is also very interesting about the need "to unname God". Maybe there’s something of a parallel here: "We are not saved by good works/ words, but for good works/ words." i.e. "We are not saved by naming God or understanding and expressing theology, but there is a responsibility to do so. I love what Oswald Chambers says:"If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily – "I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say," the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone. Try to state to yourself what you feel implicitly to be God’s truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.Always make a practice of provoking your own mind to think out what it accepts easily. Our position is not ours until we make it ours by suffering. The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance."'(My Utmost For His Highest’, Dec. 15)

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  2. Martin Luff

    Thanks for spotting my spelling mistake, Ann. I would like to claim it was deliberate – but it wasn’t – it was just a mistake on my part :SI have updated the original post above – to save my blushes!Great quote from Oswald Chambers btw 🙂

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