Theology of the Head & Theology of the Heart

head-and-heart

Sometimes there is a difference between what you know (in your head) and what you believe (in your heart).  It’s difficult to live a life of integrity when what you know and believe don’t line up.  If you let it, studying theology can be a purely intellectual activity that doesn’t affect any other area of your life.  BUT it can also be a powerful, life-changing activity that affects every area of your life.  Studying theology, with the Holy Spirit as your constant companion, can correct faulty beliefs at both the head and the heart level, bringing the them into alignment with each other and into alignment with truth in a way that transforms how you see and interact with God, yourself, and others.

I have always known that God is a God of love.  For God so loved the world, etc. I could recite the verses, sing the songs, speak the truth.  But for a long time, I lived like he was a God of anger, disappointment, and disapproval.  It was a combination of having a faulty definition of love (believing love was simply a choice that need not involve emotion) and of my heart believing I had a heavenly father who simply tolerated me (I’ve since come to understand some of where this false belief about God came from but that’s fodder for another post).  I could say  the right thing, God is Love, because I knew the truth, but I more deeply believed the lie that God was tolerating me, always on the edge of disappointment, waiting for me to fail.

The theology (my beliefs about God and his beliefs about me) of my head and my heart didn’t line up and I was unaware until a friend of mine asked some probing questions that challenged me to explore what I most deeply believed.  This process brought to light a belief system that ran much deeper and held much more power over my life than the facts I knew and could recite. Her questions and the Holy Spirit’s illumination* helped me to begin to unearth and correct my theology at the heart level.

It turns out that our heads are a very important part of retraining our hearts.  When the lies I’d believed were brought to light I was able to intentionally reject them and replace them with the truth I knew in my head (from studying Scripture, studying theology, and walking with God) until the two were brought into alignment with each other.  Rarely has this been a simple or painless process but it has always been freeing and fruitful.

My prayer, as you journey with me through systematic theology is that both your head and heart will be challenged with the truth of who God is, who you are, and how he wants you to interact with him, yourself, others, and the world.  I pray that faulty knowledge will be revealed, that faulty beliefs will be revealed, and that you’ll have the courage to bring your head and heart in alignment with the truth God reveals in Scripture.

Theological Vocabulary
(please let me know what words I use that don’t make sense or aren’t common so I can provide a simple definition here for you)
– Illumination: bringing light to, revealing

You’re a Theologian

words-about-god

We all have a unique way of looking at the world that is shaped by our culture, experiences, and whatever else we put in our brains. Your worldview shapes (and is shaped by) your understanding of who God is, who you are, and how those things relate.

If you believe God is good and wants to be in relationship with you, you’ll act differently than if you think he doesn’t exist or that he exists but hates you.  If you believe that God created the world, and people in general (and you specifically), with a purpose it will affect how you view your days.  If you believe God is angry at you and waiting for you to mess up, you’ll carry anxiety about your “performance” and probably be a bit critical of others.  If you believe that sinning will cause you to loose your salvation, then you’re likely either have a strict list of rules and work really hard not to do anything wrong, ever, …or give up and live like the failure that you know you are.  If you believe God created men and women equal in essence but with distinct roles you may be tempted to step back from a leadership role you feel called and equipped to fill.  Our beliefs, how we speak about God (and ourselves and the world), have life-altering, world-changing consequences.

The word Theology comes from two Greek words: theos, which means “God” and logos which means “word, matter, or the study of.”  Theology, then, is words about, or the study of, God (and the things he talks about). Everyone has ideas about who God is, who they are, and how those things relate even if they aren’t always aware of their believes or haven’t evaluated them to determine if they are the beliefs they want to have.

Everyone who thinks about God or talks about God (or humans, or the world, or why bad things happen, or how to deal with pain, or what to eat, or…) is a theologian at some level. Examining your theology might be a new thing for you or you might be well on your journey and decide you want to join us for this leg of it but no matter where you are on the journey you have theology and you are a theologian.

Your life and your voice matter.  And the theology that informs what you say and how you act matters.  Wine and Milk is your invitation to discover and evaluate your beliefs.  It’s your invitation to ask, “What do I believe?” “Do I like what I believe?” “Is it true?” “What does the Bible say?” “What do others believe?” Wine and Milk is your invitation to become a better theologian with life-altering and world-changing consequences.

Every week, sometimes twice a week, I’ll post about a different aspect of theology (but I’ll begin with a few preliminary “about theology” posts, like this one).  Though my theology is distinctly Wesleyan-Arminian, I have more experience teaching at Baptist and Reformed schools and have an affinity for both traditional liturgy and bold movements of the Holy Spirit.  So, while we’ll be following the Wesleyan Church’s Articles of Religion, and our conversations will have a distinct Wesleyan flair, I’ll be very intentional to make this a safe space for everyone to be part of the conversation.  I invite and encourage honest questions, reserve the right to ignore or delete trolls and rabbit trails, and will respect honor those with differing views.