A Note on Theology

As Christians, we are often known by our theology, at least to one another, often to the world. Are we fundamentalist, Calvinist, othodox, reform, liberal, progressive, etc.? And we often separate ourselves not only by theology, but by denomination and lineage. Two thousand years have exploded the movement created by Jesus into so many fragments. This is not to say that the early church was in any way united; we have certainly continued the trend started by the early members of the Jesus movement.

Eight years ago, I went to a day-long workshop on the practice of Lectio Divina at a church in the city I was living in. It was the workshop that cemented my love affair with that particular practice. It was at a church that was, by all measures that I could see, much more conservative theologically than I was. And I was prepared, internally, to have to deal with that theological distance. But it never came up, at all. We were all involved and enthralled by the practice, and the practice created a container that made our respective theologies irrelevant. At the end of the workshop we were united by the shared experience the practice provided.

That has been my experience in all situations in which the central focus of the gathering/retreat/workshop was contemplative practice. We were all people, striving for the quiet voice of God, and it didn’t matter what the particulars of our theology were. And that’s what I hope for my teaching.

Here’s full disclosure: I am a panentheist, a follower of Jesus’ teaching and example, a universalist, and a fan of process theology. I also have had a long Buddhist practice. You’ll certainly see ripples of that in the blog entries, although I tend to veer away from concrete theological topics, because I want to focus on the contemplative practices and their effects and roles in our lives.

Whatever your theology – whether it be evangelical or fundamentalist, liberal, progressive, or not even Christian, I hope that you find tools and guidance that are helpful on your spiritual journey, and find others with a common goal, to cultivate stillness, compassion, and connection to the Divine, in every moment – to pray without ceasing, to learn to love extravagantly.