I live my life through the lens of theology. I don’t just work, or parent, or live, or socialize. I have a theology of work, a parenting theology, a theology of place, a theology of belonging. Then there are the more traditional understandings of theology that I ascribe to: free will theism, liberation theology, feminist theology.
I believe that we all are reflections of God, thus we all relate to the divine in some way. And thus, all we do is infused with how we understand that relationship. We can’t escape our theology - whether it’s something we’ve consciously developed or not, it is our relationship to God.
But does my way of doing theology help or hinder this relationship? By breaking things down to this level of nuance, am I fragmenting how I relate to God?
I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 15 years, but it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve tried to deepen my practice to extend off the mat. Otherwise I am, by nature, an angry, judge-y person with a really short temper who happens to spend several hours a week doing some downward dogs.
Am I compartmentalizing my theology in the same way? Am I saying: Here is where I pontificate about free will. Over there is where I get on my feminism soap box. After school is when I practice parental theology. And insofar as I don’t have a well-developed theology of creation care and community activism, well, I can’t be held accountable too much in those areas then.
Up until this point, it may all be questions of semantics, but accountability is where these questions move out of the theoretical realm. Like I said, I think theology is our relationship to God and thus whether we holistically look at theology as our Christian way of being - or break it down further - it is in our spiritual DNA as humans. Where I run into trouble is when I start letting myself off the hook.
If I have 101 ways of interpreting and understanding my relationship to God, and if I’m confronted with something that’s not in my repertoire, it’s easy for me to gloss over that area of my life. Here’s an example:
I have yet to figure out how to truly live with an open hand; I guess you could call this a theology of generosity. We give of our time, resources, and money but - to be quite honest - it’s somewhat perfunctory. I know on a theoretical and cerebral level that these actions are a fundamental part of my religion. So I do them to some capacity, but it’s not intrinsically part of who I am. And it’s relatively easy for me to let myself off the hook because I “just haven’t figured out” that particular aspect of theology in my life.
We know that we will never have our lives fully put together. I will sometimes be angry with the person taking forever in the store, five minutes after finishing a meditative yoga practice. And I may struggle to reflect my theoretical belief about a theology of generosity in a practical way.
I’m ok with that, as long as I’m struggling to do it. We all have areas of improvement. I guess it doesn’t matter if you consider yourself to be of one theological mind, or a hundred-and-one as long as we’regrowing into a faith that is more fully aware and fleshed-out.