I have been asking myself what kind of theologian I am. (As Tillich pointed out many years ago, the fact that I don’t earn my living directly from doing theology is irrelevant.) This particular piece of self-analysis was provoked partly by insomnia brought on by the bug that has finally caught up with me and partly by the consideration that I really don’t enjoy much of what passes for academic theology. In particular, I find abstract discussion of the nature of God and/or Christ uninteresting and detailed analysis of the writings of other theologians tedious.
The kind of theology that interests me tends to be in response to the question ‘how should we then live?’ This was the title of a book by Francis Schaeffer, a conservative evangelical theologian whose work was an early influence on me. It is many years since I read anything by him, but his question remains with me. How should we live in light of the promises and challenges of the Christian gospel? How should we live as Christians faced with this or that contemporary challenge (whether social, political, environmental, or personal)?
What sort of theology is this? As I thought about this, I recalled a distinction made in Greek Orthodox theology between bios (nature red in tooth and claw) and zoe (life transformed by the Holy Spirit). The kind of theology that interests me is theology that maps out the contours of life transformed by the Spirit. Hence the rather tongue-in-cheek title for this entry.