I'm currently (and finally!) making my way through Richard Lints' The Fabric of Theology: A Prolegomenon to Evangelical Theology, and ran across this short quote by Peter Berger that's worth highlighting here (quoted on p. 29 of Lints' Fabric of Theology):
When churches abandon or de-emphasize theology, they give up the intellectual tools by which the Christian message can be articulated and defended. In the resulting chaos of religious ideas, the principal criterion left to the community as it seeks to find its way is, quite naturally, that of expediency" (Peter Berger).
In just a few words, Berger reminds us of an important VALUE of theology: theology helps articulate and defend the Christian message. Let's keep this value of theology in front of us!
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in "The Importance of Systematic Theology."
I try to champion biblical meditation every way that I can.
If you're new to this idea of "biblical meditation," here's a brief summary: Biblical meditation is choosing to intentionally direct our focus. Specifically, we focus ON God's Word - the Bible - and what we learn there about who God is and what He's doing. We focus FOR Christ-like transformation - so that we slowly and increasingly think and act in a Christ-like way. For a whole post I wrote on biblical meditation, click here.
And before we write this off as a spiritual discipline for the "super saints," I want to quickly point out that we all choose to direct our focus somewhere. (In other words, this habit of meditation is very doable, because most of us are already doing it often. The variable is WHAT we are meditating upon.)
In his very worthwhile book, Minding the Heart: The Way of Spiritual Transformation, author Robert L. Saucy suggests that "If you know how to worry...then you know how to meditate" (p. 155). I, for one, agree. For all of us who have ever re-played scenarios over and over in our mind, or focused intently on some puzzle that needed to be solved, we have practiced "meditation," i.e. the art of focusing our thinking on something.
What followers of Jesus Christ need to do is learn to direct our focus towards the Bible and its Author, rather than being slaves to stray thoughts. We need to fill our minds with small chunks of the Bible - specific verses and short passages - that we choose to think about (i.e., meditate upon) as we're stopped at a red light, performing a mundane task, waiting in line somewhere, or going for a walk.
Looking for some verses and short passages you can start meditating on?
Below I've included a small handful of suggestions. I encourage you to write 2 or 3 of these down on an index card or input them into your phone so they're handy, and then keep returning to these and filling your mind with biblical truth:
As Brookside Church has been reading through the Bible in 2016, one of the questions I've gotten numerous times relates closely to this question: "What's Up with All the Violence in the Old Testament?"
Earlier this week, I taught a Brookside Institute seminar on this topic - giving others the opportunity to dig more deeply into it and interact about it. Below I've included the audio from this seminar.
Or, if you're interested in a text version of what was covered (things will be pretty similar to the audio, though not identical) keep reading below. At the very end of this post I've include a PDF "Answer Key" of the handout I made available.
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