Monday, February 2, 2009

Theological Vice and Virtue

A couple weeks back, Ben Myers posted a tongue-in-cheek list of theological vices, for instance:

1. As a theological student, your aim is to accumulate opinions – as many as you can, and as fast as possible. (Exceptional students may acquire all their opinions within the first few weeks; others require an entire semester.)... If at first you don’t feel much conviction for these new opinions, just be patient: within twelve months you will be a staunch advocate, and you’ll even be able to help new students acquire the same opinions.
Today he posted his corresponding list of theological virtues, including:
6. Love: Theological formation should be driven by a love for truth, not by animosity towards untruth. Truthful theology always involves polemics – but since truth takes form as love, it can never be used as a weapon to wound another person. Where this occurs, truth becomes a falsehood....

9. Truth: Ambition for the comfort and respectability of a career is a deadly temptation which the theological student must resist. One can serve the idol of career only by compromising the call to speak the truth – that is, by sacrificing one’s entire theological vocation. Theological education is not about garnering academic favour, nor about treading the eggshells of correctness and respectability; it is about loving the truth and speaking the truth faithfully, while “taking no thought for tomorrow” (Matt. 6:34).

10. Prayer: Prayer is the theologian’s most fitting and most distinctive activity. A theologian who does not pray is a grotesque aberration – like a literary scholar who doesn’t read, or a music teacher who cannot play an instrument. Above all else, “the theologian is the one who prays” (St Evagrius).
If, like me, you need the reminder, do check out his lists.

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