Friday, June 22, 2007


the more i study theology
the more i realize it's like math

which sucks
because i'm terrible at math
but love theology

and yet
i find myself growing quickly in my theological understanding
while - at the same time - recognizing how little "math" one genuinely needs to be a legitimate lover and follower of jesus christ

i've come to think of it like this

theology is like math
in that there are certain definate & true answers to certain questions
and that there are applications for theology/math well outside of the strict discipline of theology/math
and that theology/math affects our daily lives without most of us even noticing it
and - perhaps most 'sexily' - that theology/math contain much room for hypothesis, rumination, and speculation about meaning and significance in real life stuff

in order for someone to truly to be considered a lover and follower of jesus
i believe they ought to work hard at understanding basic math
they ought to know how to add and subtract
they ought to ascribe to something basic [like the nicene creed, even with its many theological pinholes that so much of evangelicalism is fond of fighting over]

for me
and for many other pastors
we need to know more than addition and subtraction
we need to know - at least - calculus and algebra
so as to see the deeper levels of meaning and the use of numbers/texts

what concerns me is how many "famous" pastors seem only to have grasped
what looks like multiplication or, far too often, division

to be fair
we truly cannot judge their worth from a distance
and - even if we could - it would unethical for us to do so
without, at least, acknowledging their noble purpose and being in some manner of relationship [either professional or personal] with them

if we're honest
we do need to be clear that more is required of pastor/teachers than simply addition/subtraction, multiplication/division

for myself
i've humorously recognized that my particular bent is towards
applied theology/math

applied mathematics is the field of study concerned with stuff that makes a visible difference in real life
with the analysis of the world around us
and positive suggestions for how it could be improved
or better utilized and/or enjoyed

theologically speaking
i love to think through the hyper-complicated parts of faith [i.e. the real and complex numbers, number theory, etc...], but am only concerned with them insofar as they help us all connect more meaningfully with jesus and with the world around us.

perhaps this is a useful way to understand my contribution to the world around me

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