Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reading Tillich 13: Participating Theology

[The Systematic theologian] must participate in the human predicament, not only actually - as he always does - but also in conscious identification. He must participate in man's finitude, which is also his own, and in its anxiety as though he had never received the revelatory answer of his "eternity". He must participate in man's estrangement, which is also his own, and show the anxiety of guilt as though he had never received the revelatory answer of "forgiveness". The theologian does not rest on the theological answer which he announces. He can give it in a convincing way only if he participates with his whole being in the situation of the question, namely the human predicament. ... In formulating the answer he must struggle for it.
Systematic Theology II, 15.
This, then, should be written above the desk of every theologian. This is the true mark of great theology, theology that have stood the test of time. Theology that coolly reflects on the teaching of the Church and presents it as if it was self-evident truths will never be able to contribute anything really substantial to the history of theology.

This means that theologian should always ask the difficult questions: Do I believe in this? Does this make sense to me? What kind of relevance does this have for my life? Only then can one proceed to speak.

Yes, it is to ask a lot.

1 comment:

byron said...

I really like this quote.

Though I wonder whether finitude is not a problem to be wrestled with so much as a gift for which we are grateful. And with it, temporality... :-)