I went to a Faculty Forum at Carthage today and listened to the chair of the religion department, Romwald Maczka talk about “Teaching the Unknowable.” Really sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? How does one teach the unknowable? It’s one thing to teach about math or science or english, things that are tangible and measurable, but it’s another thing completely to teach about God. We can study religion, or religious texts, or religious people, but theology – the study of God – becomes a bit more tricky.
It raises the question of how anyone can preach or teach about something that is, by definition, truly intangible and impossible to fully comprehend? I have my own personal “knowing” of God – that which I’ve personally experienced. I have accumulated knowledge based on other’s experiences and understandings of God. And I have done research on religious texts and religions. Awkwardly enough, the more I learn the more I recognize how feeble my attempt is to articulate the fullness of God. I am keenly aware, each time I step up to preach on Sunday morning, how much I still don’t know. Perhaps this explains my reluctance some days… I wonder where I get the audacity to try to say anything about God or spirituality. Yet I feel called to do exactly that. Craziness.
I found this great quote by Kosuke Koyama, from Water Buffalo Theology: “It is of great importance for us to remember that these theological insights are humble theological insights. They are servants, not masters, to the “inexpressible gift” of God in Christ.”
Everything I proclaim about God, I do so humbly, knowing that what I believe today is different then what I believed a few years ago, and will continued to be shaped by future experiences and learning. However, I will say thatat least one thing has remained unchanging in my theological attempts… whatever I believe has to be in line with the unbounded, unconditional love of God. So be it.