A Theological Alphabet

A is for Apologetic

I’m not exactly sure how we can expect to do the work that God is calling us to do, if we can’t explain to people why we think it’s needed.  “Why” is the key word here.  Remember – Martin Luther King, Jr didn’t give the “I have a Plan” speech.

B is for Born Again

This is an idea that speaks to the heart of our work, no?  Have you been made new?  Have you begun seeing the world with Christ’s eyes?  If you want to bring change to the world, then you might want to make sure you have been willing to go through some yourself.

C is for Constantine

Constantine lied to us.  Well, to be fair, he gave us his opinion and we bought it.  Christians are not equal to Empire.  We are not in charge, we have no real pull.  If you do not understand yourself to be on the fringes, then you don’t understand Christianity.

D is for Death

I once heard that some monks were asked “do you fear death?” to which they replied, “No, we practice it every day.”  New life does not occur without death.  No lie.

E is for Eternal Life

Eternal Life is not the life you live when you die.  It’s not a euphemism for “Going to Heaven.”  Eternal Life is the reality that opposes the Temporal Life.  Remember this: If you can see the beginning and end of something, that thing is not real. Only that which has no beginning and no end is real.

F is for Faith

Blind trust is not the call of the disciple.  Faith is, and we say that God has given us our faith.  We did not create it.Faith is the ability to see and accept (despite our capability) what God has done for us and in doing through us.

G is for God

There is only one that is worthy of our worship: the one who determines the state of our being.  We call that one “God.”

H is for Heaven & Hell

Heaven and Hell are not literal places.  They are merely the ways we describe our eternal relationship to God based on absolutely zero understanding of the totality of existence.

I is for Idols

God’s spirit and power cannot be contained.  When we pretend that it can, the thing it is contained in is an idol.

J is for Jesus Christ

The intention, purpose, goal, and direction made known to us in a way we could understand.

K is for Kingdom of God

A first century metaphor for contrasting what God is up to based on the dominant influential power structure of the day.

L is for Love

The intention of beneficent action towards others.

M is for Martyr

One who is willingly attacked for the sake for the Freedom promised in Christ.

N is for Neighbor

1) The one we love.  2) Everyone

O is for Original Sin

To affirm Original Sin, is not the same thing as saying people are primarily bad.  It is to say that the state of being human means that, for some reason we can’t explain, we do awful things to one another and all of creation.

P is for Peace

The state of things when freedom is a reality.

Q is for Queer

What began a slur for those “not in the norm” has become a label of empowerment for those graciously showing us aspects of God we never knew we were missing.

R is for Religious

“Oh, you’ll like her – she’s very religious.”  While many faithful people I know are religious, many are not.  But of the faithful people I know who are not, all of them began as those were were.

S is for Sacrament

I forget a lot of things.  I forget that God loves us all equally.  I forget that I was created to be an agent of Christ’s Grace and Peace to the world.  I forget that you were created to do that, too. Sacraments remind us of this and allow us to participate in it.  It’s kind of like the servers at a restaurants, slurping up the Chef’s latest masterpiece before dinner service: How can they sell it if they’ve never tried it?

T is for Total Depravity

The doctrine of Total Depravity is connect to Original Sin and acts as a modifier for that state of being.  TD helps remind us that we should never be surprised when people do bad things.

U is for Universalism

Within the Christian world, the understanding that the reconciling work of Christ applies to all.  Not sure why this gets people so riled up.  I’m not sure I’d want to serve a God who didn’t or couldn’t reconcile the whole world.

V is for Vicar

As in “The Pope is the Vicar of Christ,” or the one who stands in for Christ.  I don’t really have a problem with that, except that I think it’s too limited.  We are all the vicars of Christ.

W is for Worship

To give some measure of honor and devotion.

X is for Xenophobia

“Fear of strangers.”  How many Churches are xenophobic?

Y is for Youth

If one more person says that the youth are the church of tomorrow, I’ll scream.  They are part of the Church of today and it’s damn time we started treating them like it.

Z is for Zacchaeus

A wee little man.

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