I love theological dialogue: it helps me shape my understanding of the christian faith in general, and my own journey of faith in particular. The christian faith through the centuries is a rich and varied tradition: expressed through a broad diversity of people, expressions and understandings of the faith. To discuss my faith is to have it open to scrutiny, to be tested both for its consistency and for its integrity to scripture. Far less common is the challenge to authenticity: is it reflected in the way I live?
Of continuing challenge to me is how poor God’s theology seems to be at times: he does not fit my notions of justice or compassion, and his expressions of love often seem to lack consistency. As Philip Adams lamented in an article on the day of our national election, God seems to be looking with favour upon the conservative elements at this time, in stark contradistinction to the attitudes of Jesus. It is a constant reminder to me that the best theological understanding is still inadequate to fully express the mystery which is the work of God in Christ.
As the Advent season provides opportunity to reflect upon the ways in which God comes to us in Christ, it remains clear that I still have much to learn. The Christmas story reinforces it afresh. After all, didn’t the Magi follow a star, using astrology to find their way to Jesus? What does that mean for encouraging others in their spiritual search today?
Yet there is an inward reflection that echoes through Advent: “Who am I that I should be part of God’s purposes in this way?” It is a question asked by Mary, by Zechariah, and is implied by Joseph’s attitude until an angel appeared to him in a dream. As we reflect on the ways of God, our reflection should also focus upon the ways in which God has been at work in our lives. The following questions (from an unknown source) might be helpful:
December 12, 2004