Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

theology- old and inherited or new and personal?



We often think of theology as the content of what we believe about God and our relationship to Him. Traditionally that involves the religious practice we must engage in to please God and gain His favor. Secondarily and often superficially, theology guides us in our personal conduct toward one another.


In the most practical sense, one could postulate that our real theology is reflected in our view of creation, our general attitude about life, and our respect for our fellowmen. None of this addresses God directly but definitely finds support and guidance from Jesus.


It would be relatively easy to demonstrate from the Bible that Jesus had limited respect and concern for religious ritualism and the leadership which fostered it in his day. This is true even though he was a Jew within a highly ritualistic religious society. Early in his earthly ministry, Jesus set out to redefine what was important as a Jew. It was clearly not the lock step conformity to religious law and rituals which was the mainstay of Judaism and remains so in current day Christianity.


Instead Jesus was big on the very issues I noted as practical theology. Optimism, empathy, self sacrifice, and respect for God's creation are all integral to the teachings of Jesus. However, you might easily miss that reality if your only knowledge of Jesus came from the church. Too many in Christianity preach gloom and doom, exhibit contempt for large portions of humanity, and incite verbal and physical aggression toward outsiders


We normally think of the word theologian as a label for the elite biblical scholars at our universities and seminaries. The doctors of theology are over our heads for the most part, so all that matters is our own belief system and how it guides us.


Hopefully, in establishing a personal theology of life, we each find one that brings fulfillment and happiness. If not, we should not feel content. Before Christ, the world was full of religious ritualism aimed at pleasing and placating the gods or God. Jesus pushed all that aside to point to something revolutionary and life enhancing.


There is a strong current day emphasis on returning to the past, religiously. Stagnation in the theological mindset of the Judaic past was not what Jesus taught. Despite that fact, our religious heritage is still defined as Judeo-Christian, with the emphasis on the Judeo part with religious leaders, rules, and ordinances. Moses, Yes! Christ, No!