Time for Theological Reflection?
Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
What makes us let go of former things? Grief? Stress from doing something no longer valuable while trying to accomplish the needful? When the former things stop working, we can be more ready to hear the whisper of God’s newness. Maybe.
I remember when the Wisconsin Conference experimented with having four district superintendents for eight districts. It took a long time to see how the experiment revealed God whispering that newness was needed. When I was serving in the local church in the pandemic, many things called for urgent attention and it was painful to let go of worship as it had been done to have room for newness. It took time to develop clarity and capacity. It was good to hear the insight of thoughtful, theologically reflective people along the way.
Underneath our shifts in ministry is the thoughtful theological reflection about why: how is our theology speaking to us, calling us to move, to let go, and see new ways in the wilderness? When, in your practice of faith, do you do theological reflection? I think I may be like many: I am more ready to reflect in times of grief or stress. What if you regularly made room to reflect theologically? Is the Sabbath a good time for such reflection? What tools would you use? Who might you partner with? What role does prayer play? Deeper than our political bubbles, what helps you sense God is calling you toward newness? Sometimes pain is the prompt.
the nettle path