Thursday, October 23, 2008

A theology of celebration vs. suffering

Earlier this year, I heard Soong Chan Rah speak and was so challenged and intrigued that I decided to attend his workshop. He talked about a theology of celebration and a theology of suffering and how they look very different. It is fascinating. It is eye opening. It is convicting.

One thing that I have realized is that white evangelical Christians (of which I am one) do not like to be told that our theology is wrong or in this case incomplete. We feel defensive and want to argue the point.

Dr. Rah talked about a theology that does not understand suffering is incomplete. He challenged us that we need to learn from each other and realize that if we do not than we are left with bad theology. So the racial divide that often exists within the church is not only a problem by itself, but it also creates an incomplete (wrong) theology. So we must know and engage each other across racial and economic because we have so much to learn from each other.

Most minorities in America are OK with the fact that they have things that they must learn from white Christians. A large majority of white Christians in our country have no thought that they have something to learn from Christians outside there race. Often they don’t seek out those relationships, because they feel they get all that they need spiritually within there own race.

I understand that I am painting with a broad brush here without being able to flesh it all out, but it is long past time that the “white church” in America begins to learn from the “Latino”, “Asian”, or “Black” church.

I know that I personally have been so blessed by the instruction that I have received and the relationships that I have built outside my ethnic heritage. It has enriched my theology and sometimes even changed it. It has given me a different perspective on the world. It has humbled me. It has reminded me that I have so much to learn.

Have you ever been around people who think very different than you and realized that some of what you had thought was wrong?


Aaron said...

Yeah I sit through this session at the UYWI 07 conference and it was awesome. I was really impacted by this discussion and wish it could have been longer.

KG said...

I feel that I have so much to learn as it relates to these things. I think that a good mixing of celebration and suffering comes from being in close relationship with people who lean towards one or the other. This can help bring balance.

The best theology always comes through community and not isolation.