“Theology is practical, especially now… If you do not listen to Theology that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones – bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas.”
I’ve been asked many times over these last four years why I chose to be in the field of Christian theology. I mean to most it doesn’t make any logical sense, you make almost zero money (unless you write books), nobody really wants to talk to you about your job unless they have a problem or need you to pray for them (which most people in theology seem to actually enjoy this part of the job), and most jobs in theology call for long hours with little reward or time off. So why would anyone want to enter into the field of theology? Well I’ve talked to many different ministers, preachers, professors of theology, and other theologues and they all have a different answer, some chose this field for the people, others chose it because God specifically called them for a specific purpose, and yet there are still those that chose this field for the fame and recognition they receive. However, the reason I chose theology (or it chose me) is a little more complicated.
I remember the first time I stepped into a ministry role, a role in which I had to be an example of God. I was in Ghana, West Africa, a beautiful country, on a mission trip. To be honest, I loved the idea of traveling overseas and participating in humanitarian aid, but I didn’t want anything to do with preaching or teaching the Gospel. I am an introvert by nature and to most I am (or was) the silent bystander that enjoys petting your dog more than talking to you. Thus, preaching and teaching was well off my radar. However, God used some Dogombe tribe members in Tamale, Ghana that ignited a fire within me. They taught me that one can teach the gospel without words, that one can be the gospel through the use of one’s hands and the direction of one’s feet. I loved teaching the Gospel through my actions rather than my words because I could comfortably be my introverted self and still do what God had asked.
Fast forward a few years and I enter university as a Missions and Outreach major. I had come to the conclusion that if I was comfortable on the mission field then that is where I wanted to stay the rest of my life. I held on to this ideology until one day, a professor of mine pointed me in a different direction. I was sitting in one of his classes. It was an overview class focused solely on the Old Testament. The professor was teaching about Amos the prophet. He explained that Amos was not a prophet to his own people but to people who most likely hated him. He further explained that Amos was most likely uncomfortable, and unhappy and even discouraged prophesying to those who wanted nothing to do with him or the words he spoke. Then the professor asked the class if God was calling us to an area that made us uncomfortable. And that question hit me like a train going full speed. I went back to my room that evening and prayed and thought about where God was really calling me. The more I prayed and meditated the more I realized that God was calling me to do exactly what made me feel uncomfortable. I was being called to teach.
Soon I changed my major from missions to Biblical Literature. I wanted to learn everything I could not learn on my own about the biblical text. I began taking ancient language classes, ancient cultural classes, and ancient writing classes, and the more I dove into the text the stronger my passion grew for teaching what I was learning. But, the more I studied, the more I began to realize a couple of things. First, it’s quite difficult to understand theologians. Though most of the famous theologians all the way back to Thomas Aquinas were extremely eloquent, I struggled with understanding their wording, their direction, and even sometimes their entire thesis. Though after a while it began to become easier for me to understand these great patriarchs and matriarchs of the faith, I began to understand why most Christians choose to read ministry books (which I want to make clear, there is nothing wrong with) over theological writings, it’s just too difficult to understand. Therefore, I decided that as I began to teach what I had learned in school and my own personal studies and as I began my long journey of hopefully becoming a theologian, I was going to make sure that no matter the form of communication I used to teach others, I would always deliver my message in a way that was easy to understand and yet filled with the richness of the theological greats that came before me. The second thing I realized was that a large portion of theological writers rarely reference the Bible in their writings. Thus, as I began to teach and write, I was going to make sure that my messages always (and often) pointed back to the Bible. These two conclusions of mine will be two of the building blocks of this blog.
I love theology, I love studying God and his relation to our world, and I love studying His word and His personal involvement in our lives. When someone asks me why I am a theologue, I tell them that the study of theology is more than a calling to me, it is a mission; a mission to not only understand my God better than the day before, but also to help others obtain knowledge of Christ and embrace the study of God as a whole.