An important part of what we’re about over here at SALT is making a clear and compelling case that the Christian Gospel matters, that theology matters, that faith matters – and that they matter in our everyday lives.
And that means all aspects of our lives. In other words, living a Christian life means loving God not only with our heart, soul, and strength, but also with our minds (Mark 12:30). Thinking theologically is one of humanity’s most beautiful forms of intellectual rigor. It doesn’t mean turning off your brain, or checking it at the church door; on the contrary, it means kicking your brain into one of its highest gears, and riding it right into the sanctuary to engage some of the greatest ideas and most perplexing questions human beings have ever known.
There are some, of course, who think that faith amounts to an intellectual cop-out, or that theology is a form of childish, simple-minded naïveté. Our guess is that most people who feel this way haven’t yet encountered theology at its best, or had the opportunity to experience an intellectually vibrant form of faith. Come to think of it, our guess is that most people who feel this way haven’t yet had a chance to experience SALT!
Here’s an interesting case in point from the New York Times this week: on Sunday, columnist Frank Bruni published an intriguing piece arguing that some of the critics of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally should admit that a wide range of folks – left and right, religious and secular – sometimes engage in forms of “magical thinking” that tolerate neither doubt nor dissent. So far, so good.
But along the way, Bruni uses terms like "religion," “faith,” and “theology” as a kind of shorthand for simpleminded, evidence-free reasoning. Indeed, it’s an interesting case study partly because Bruni never actually comes out and claims that theology is superstition – he just presumes it, and imbeds that presumption in his case.
You can read Bruni's article here. And you can read Matthew Myer Boulton's (a rising star on the SALT Team!) response here (published in yesterday’s New York Times).
At SALT, we believe in developing, exploring, and sharing forms of Christian faith in which heart and mind, passion and insight, walk hand-in-hand. Let us know how we're doing and, by all means, join the conversation – we need to let the beautiful, brainy, vibrant, complex light of the Gospel shine for all to see!
Thanks to Thomas Hawk for this vivid shot!