"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (the Apostle Paul, Philippians 3.11-14, NIV)
The few and far-between readers of these blogs might have discerned a kind of journey in the last few pieces posted. Having suggested we are not necessarily a nation "under God" anymore, if ever, the search was launched to identify the remnant God always leaves in any nation which once sought His rule.
As previously postulated, in the United States of America one is free to claim the name "Christian" without any additional specific identification. One is born in a "Christian Nation," and if nothing else what else could one be but "Christian?" It is one's right, too, to attach allegiance to one congregation or denomination. Thus I am free to be Methodist, Congregationalist, or even the catch-all denomination -- Baptist.
The true searcher, though, seeks something more -- a search loosely called theology.
Theology is, in its simplest form, the search for knowledge about God. Thus this particular search might be called seeking to be a "Theological Christian."
There is certainly no requirement on anyone to start this search. But, if you choose to be a seeker for knowledge, now you have a problem. Now it is not enough to say. I am an American, or a Baptist, or even a lifelong conservative. To be a Theological Christian I must be willing to go beyond "this is what our church teaches." Now you must enter into the sum total of the revelations of God, His history in dealing with mankind, and what direction He has given to scholarship for these 2,000 years. Now begins a search for something to die for; and, more the difficult, something to live by. This particular search is best thought a journey, not a destination.
The Guideposts on this journey are questions, rarely accompanied with easy answers.
Where is God in all this mess, anyway?
What think you of about Jesus or Nazareth, called The Christ? Who is He? [An interested traveler on this road might checkout "Which Jesus?" at http://www.christcommunitychurch.org/flashaudio/2010AUDIO/WhichJesus/WhichJesus.....
Is the Bible -- as it has come down to us through Judeo-Christian history -- what it claims? Is it what others claim for it?
The overwhelming weight of statistical evidence indicates all that lives dies. What then?
Most important of all, if we seek to be Theologically Christian, how shall we then live?
I am somewhere on this search to be a Theological Christian, not sure where. Worry about those certain of where they are in the journey. Worry more about them than about my own uncertainty in this regard. Where are you?
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.