“You want to know who I really am, yeah so do I.” –“See You” by Saves the Day
I had to write a "prolegomena" for my paper for doctrine. This gives the reader some background for what is to come next. I did my paper on the doctrine of the church, which i'll post parts of here in the near future. Before that, i thought i'd share this little diddy about how and why i think:
Personal experience is the start which is tempered by logic, reason, and testing these private moments against other people’s experience. For me, that is largely what religion does for me most naturally. Scripture is a tried and true measuring stick as well as a challenger to any notions I think I’ve landed on. The irrational fullness of life taught me never to discard anything. Even when it goes against all our theories, odds are, we need to reconsider these theories anyway. I try not to hold on too tightly to any notion.
This is, of course, disquieting and I’m never certain whether the compass is pointing true or not, but security and certitude does not lead to discoveries. My life has been one of constant change and challenge and my theology and thinking reflect this. I come out of a Jesuit, natural theology with a healthy amount of Roman Catholic doctrine and dogma. This is what I’m always measuring against and reacting too. I still feel like I’m learning to be a Protestant and that I’m young enough that I still can’t say what exact ideas govern my thinking.
What it consistently boils down to is context, mystery, revelation, and praxis. Context is everything. I must be humble enough to say “I don’t know” in any given context, yet strive to find the extreme points and find the middle path (predestined or free will? Yes! Horrible sinners or rational, transcendent beings? Yes!). I must rely on God for revelation, which means I must be out experiencing the world as revelation only comes through experience. And I must put all things into practice because theory without practice is pointless and practice without theory is thoughtless. All of these are intermingled, like concentric circles or better yet, four in one. I don’t know how they’re all in there, but they are!