Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It's a Matter of Theology

Post-Trump-election-victory USA: if ever good theology was needed . . . . Will the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and its members bring it?


Detail from poster for the film Bal (Honey) by Semih Kaplano─člu


I read a blog post yesterday by Lutheran seminarian and vicar Lenny Duncan: "The Road to 270 Was Through the ELCA." It's about the election of Trump, and it makes a very provocative claim:

"[T]he problem isn’t political. It isn’t sociological. It is theological." 

That feels right to me at a gut level. And it has forced me to think. "What is my theology?"

Before last week, I kind of took theology for granted. "We know what we need to know about God," I thought. "We just need to do a better job of getting organized."

But Pastor Lenny's blog post has made me go back to square one.

I'm hoping to get clear on some theology that will make as much sense this week, and next week, and beyond, as it seemed to make before November 8.

I've been turning a lot over in my mind. I'm realizing that I'm carrying around a lot of snippets of scriptural wisdom, but not all of them rise to the level of theology. And I've been taught a lot of theology, but very little of it feels totally reliable at the moment.

The best I've been able to come up with as of today is this:

We've nearly perfected the practice of treating other people as objects;
what might happen if we tried treating each other as children of God?

I know, I know, that's rather tentative. It's what I can manage right now, using what little I am carrying with confidence with me every day, and using words that I hope others can understand. (Perhaps what it lacks in certainty, it makes up for in possibility.)

The good news is that I know I'm not the only person reading what Pastor Lenny writes. I've got a feeling he's gotten a lot of people to ask themselves, "What is my theology?"

I look forward to seeing what others come up with.