The Service of the Theologian

architecture art cathedral chapel
Photo by Pixabay on

Human life requires God. The theologian offers his or her mind in the service of saying “God” in such a way that God is not reduced or packaged or banalized, but known and contemplated and adored, with the consequence that our lives are not cramped into what we can explain but exalted by what we worship.

Eugene Peterson, Subversive Spirituality, p. 124

I believe God is personal. I also believe God is wonderful, glorious, the most splendid being in all of existence. I believe this God has made himself known, and can be known.

But it is possible to talk about God in such a way that is impersonal. We are capable of god-talk that is informative but uninteresting, accurate but unmoving, static rather than dynamic, cold rather than radiant, dead rather than alive.

I once heard a person described as a good theologian who didn’t care much for God. I think this is possible, albeit tragic. If human life requires God, as Peterson claims, we need more than knowledge about God, we need intimacy with God. The theologian can serve us by helping us gain a greater understanding of God. This is a worthwhile beginning.

But the best theologians, I think, present God to us with the voice not only of a priest or a prophet, but a poet, someone who can help us through language behold the God who has been revealed as the Word of Life (1 John 1:1-3), a God that can be seen and felt and touched, a God who has drawn near to us in Christ Jesus, a God through whom we not only are invited to elevate our thoughts concerning, but a God who has extended to us the gift of fellowship, of eternal communion, now and always.