Religious scholars speak of what they call systematic theology. This, according to them, is how one arrives at right thinking about the spiritual realm. God, however, who owns the spiritual realm, asks us to love Him, one another, and even ourselves. The two concepts don’t seem to be in harmony.
Can love be expressed by a system? Can I prove I love someone by spending just the right number of hours with that person, saying the perfect phrases, behaving in a certain manner? Or is love more spontaneous, dynamic, and organic?
A certain woman was known throughout town for her sinful lifestyle. One evening she broke all the rules by crashing a dinner party at the home of a man who by outward appearances was among the holy. There she showed great compassion for Jesus, who happened to be present, by washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The pious man of the house objected, and was then scolded by the Son of God for his lack of insight.
These days I care less about knowing all the answers and more about loving God by extending mercy and grace to others, providing a listening ear or some act of assistance. I’m aware that this may be seen as at least misguided, and perhaps heretical, by those who have their ducks in a row. I have no defense. I can’t systematically explain my current location on the spiritual journey. Maybe it’s better not to.
Love this! How true!
Excellent post. Systematic theology reminds me of the famous H.L. Mencken quote: “There is always an easy solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.” As much as some might like our spiritual journey to be mapped out step by step from start to finish, God gives us the freedom to make choices and find our own way with the benefit of His guiding light. It may be unsystematic, but the growth experiences and rewards along the way are much more personal and rewarding.