Monday, October 22, 2007

Eco-Theology 1


I think there are three primary reasons that ecology is not taken seriously in many churches today, and I'm going to address them in subsequent posts here. Feel free to pipe in with questions, as I am still struggling to make more sense of all this and fully think through the implications of these arguments.

Here are my three primary reasons that ecology is not taken seriously in most churches today:

1. We fail to see the interrelatedness of doctrines in our theological systems. Which can lead to...

2. A deficiency in one or two doctrinal positions (usually creation or eschatology), which forbids us from taking the created world seriously.

3. We simply don’t take seriously our theological convictions about ecology (or anything else, for that matter).

I'll only deal with number one today.

So what about the interrelatedness of doctrine? For at least the past century, the idea of systematic theology has been a popular one. Systematic theology brought a renewed interest in theology, contextualized theology for a world steeped in an Enlightenment worldview, and from these, much good has been done. However, the downside to systematic theology is a system of division which easily leads to a theology of division. We study doctrines such as creation, the Trinity and salvation individually, and somehow they begin to feel like separate things, as if the character and activity of God himself is somehow neatly divided into categories. God acts here as creator, Jesus acts here as Savior, the Spirit works here as equipper, and little is said about how these rich aspects of theology overlap and connect with one another.

So we don’t consciously connect the points of doctrine in our theological systems, but rather allow our subconscious mind to do that work. When these connections are not intentional, our minds simply take what we value most in one area of theology and allow it to trump whatever we may want to believe in another area. So we have people who may think that it is pretty important to care for the earth who are not willing to stand for this principle because there is another element of their theology which is more central to their identity which appears to contradict it, yet having not explored the connections between these two aspects of their belief system, the one perceived greater wins out.

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1 Comments:

At 11:23 PM EDT , Blogger Marcus Anderson said...

Hello Gates! Well I have to say this was a great entry. I'm about to move onto part dos.

 

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