The first task of theology
This is a deep post from Theology Forum:
We have been exploring the inner life of the theologian (and the theological student) from various angles over the last couple months. Most recently, James challenged us to consider Lent a season for 'setting aside' areas of our calling in order that we might take them up again in renewed awareness of their dedication to God. Toward this end, James is setting aside scholarship (and TF) for Lent because, ‘I can sit and think all day about God without ever really thinking about God....
This applies not only to theologians in the formal sense. It applies to any attempt at Christian discipleship. We can get so focussed on the discipleship that we forget the first principles. The author concludes with words from Karl Barth.
The first and basic act of theological work is prayer...Undoubtedly, from the very beginning and without intermission, theological work also study; in every respect it is also service; and finally it would certainly be in vain were it not also an act of love. But theological work does not merely begin with prayer and is not merely accompanied by it; in its totality it is peculiar and characteristic of theology that it can be performed only in the act of prayer ... We should keep in mind the fact that prayer, as such, is work; in fact, very hard work, although in its execution the hands are most fittingly not moved but folded.
There is so much I should do.
I should love my wife by spending time and talking with her each day.
I should pray.
I should keep fit and get exercise.
I should go the denominational meetings.
I should keep up to date with my reading.
I should relax.
I have to commute.
I really should do some work, too!
This is complicated by the fact that I am a little bit obsessive, which might be apparent from this post!
Grace for me, has been letting myself lighten up. Morning prayer, first thing, is really important. It noticeably shapes my day. A Compline litany is good, but often does not happen. I have let go of midday prayers.
Here, from upstairs in the city, what is liberating for me is to actually stop for lunch... didn't do that for seven years in IT... and simply wander up and down Rundle Mall and watch what goes past. I sometimes regret the "not" of the midday Office, but I think it is doing me good not to try at everything so hard.