Over on Leslie’s blog I posted the following comment when she expressed her concern over a previous comment someone made saying “Don’t get so caught up in the theology that you miss the point…”

I think an often overlooked key to this is the dining alone principle. Few people enjoy dining alone, especially not on a regular basis. The same goes for theology. It’s all good to study theology on your own, to read books and think deep thoughts, but rare is the person who can take it to the next level in this context. We need community, interaction, and most importantly push-back. We need to bouce ideas off of others, learn from them, have them challenge things we say. This stirs the coals of the soul, making both people grow. I think blogs can do this in a limited sense. I don’t think we can replace face to face time though. Going to lectures is good, but still not on par with sitting down with a couple of people and forcing your brains to grow. I have had a number of opportunities for this type of dialog, and it’s not hard to create these situations if they are not going on around you. Seminary has been fantastic for this. Whether it is grabbing a Prof and having lunch, or standing in the halls during a break in class, many great discussions take place.

It’s funny how random things get my mind working. It’s especially funny how this frequently happens when I should be using my creative powers on papers that are due (or past due..gulp…).

Back to my point, which would be that we cannot do theology in a vacuum, or if we do it suffers. I think it to be dangerous to practice theology outside of the context of community. Heresy can enter in unchecked. We were created by God to operate in community, in reflection of the community of the Trinity. My periods of personal growth in my faith (and depth of knowledge in theology) have always come at times when I am most deeply committed to others in community. I love the wide open format of blogging, but for me at least I really need that face to face to really push me. I can choose to ignore something posted, or I can just dismiss it and move on. I cannot do this if you are sitting across the table from me (well, I suppose technically I could…). I do think this might be the nugget of wisdom the person who commented on Leslie’s blog might actually have been after. We can all sit in ivory towers thinking whatever we like, but when the rubber meets the road is the true test. I’m not talking pragmatism, but living our faith instead of just thinking our faith. We do need to have that background of theology, the time spent in digging through scripture, reading other’s thoughts etc. though. Balance of course is the key to this. Either one without the other leads to problems.

I think next time I’ll give more thought to this subject before writing so it’s more cohesive in it’s final product. I suppose that’s the danger of blogging whatever is on my mind, and then random rabbit trails that might take me down.