A recent post by Scot McKnight gave me pause:
Helmut Thielicke, in what has to be one of the finest little (absolutely must-have) books ever written for those in school and considering pastoring or a teaching ministry, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, said something like this some where in that book: “During the period when the voice is changing we do not sing.”
Bloggers pastors or students or theologians, especially young ones, need to listen to the wisdom of this little word by Thielicke. Why? Let me begin with this: what you say on your blog is international, permanent, and universally accessible. It’s not that I think you need to hide your ideas; it is that some of your ideas are not wise to be aired in public. Keep them to your closer friends and give them time to dig roots. Some of them you may toss into the bucket before too long.
. . . You are working out your ideas and your theology — at least I hope you are. It is indeed disappointing to me when someone thinks they’ve mastered theology as a result of a class in seminary or after having read an author or two. Especially when they haven’t earned the ideas themselves but are simply borrowing someone else’s ideas; we call this 3d person theology. Theology takes a lifetime to engage responsibly and wisely. So, hold your ideas a bit more tentatively when you are young. You’ll grow into moderated, confident wisdom. That’s the best time to chat about theology. (Link)
Given what has been on my mind lately, you can see why this would raise my eyebrows.
It’s humbling: much of my theology is 3rd person. Possibly all of it is. I don’t think that’s entirely bad: few of us, if any, would work out the doctrine of, say, the Trinity on our own, without outside influence. The idea, I think, is to take a 3rd person theological point, check it against scripture (and—yes!—the traditions and historical writings), and by confirming it this way make it a 1st person theological point.
But I could be wrong.
But that’s the beauty of this blog: it’s a working out and examining of theology. I think I’ve been clear from the outset that I am for the most part examining ideas (“thinking out loud”), rather than staking any theological claims.
At least, I hope that has been clear. I hope these 4.5 years of writing don’t come ’round and bite me in the ass.
Maybe writing “ass” just now will come ’round and bite me there.