Changing Convictions About God? 1996/2011 (2)

Ted Grimsrud—June 26, 2011

[This is the second in a six-post series reflecting on how my mind has changed (or not) over the last 15 years that I have been a college professor. Shortly before I finished my tenure as a congregational pastor in 1996, I preached a series of sermons on core beliefs. Here I will post segments of three of those sermons followed by reflections on what I think about the main ideas today. The three themes are “God,” “Jesus,” and “the Holy Spirit.” Here is the first post, from my 1996 sermon about God.]

I don’t think that my views about God have changed a great deal in the past fifteen years. Looking back at my 1996 sermon, I find much that I affirm. In fact, I am a bit surprised to see how much the emphases I made back then remain the emphases I make now.

This is the biggest change, I think: I would be less comfortable today simply jumping into a discussion of what God is like without first making the point that theological reflection in any area, but certainly in relation to direct reflection about God, is human reflection. We are not talking about God-as-such, we are talking about our understanding of God.

This acknowledgement that theology is always about us and how our convictions concerning God (or whatever other theological theme we are focusing on) may seem like an obvious truism. But it is significant, nonetheless, and not actually taken serious enough.

When we acknowledge that we are doing human work at least a couple of elements then enter into our theologizing. One is a sense of the relativity, the subjectivity, the finitude and fallibility of what we are doing. The second is a sense that all theology serves particular interests, is shaped by some human agenda or other, in reality has political ramifications. Continue reading “Changing Convictions About God? 1996/2011 (2)”