Wednesday, 5 September 2012

What's this blog all about?

So, why write a blog?

As much as anything, to find out if I can. As Chaplain at Christ's College in Cambridge, I find myself dealing with young people who are completely up-to-the-minute on social networking and all that kind of stuff. And I'm not. I know these things are out there, and I feel that they ought to be part of my ministry somehow. Indeed in these cybernetic times, it probably makes sense for anyone charged with keeping the rumour of God alive in British society to yet make use of them. But I don't really know how to use them effectively. So here I am, making some effort. Only time will tell if it works.

Whether my period musings on things related to Christianity will be of any value to anybody, I have no idea. I'd like to think that I'm a pretty decent theologian, and that I'm good at explaining theology to the non-theologian. This blog will be one way of testing that theory.

It might be useful to myself, in that sometimes the mere fact of saying or writing what one thinks about something can help the thought process itself, and make what was vague clearer. Sometimes it will expose gaps in knowledge or understanding. I hope this will happen for me. And I hope that if people read this blog, and choose to comment on it, they will charitably point out the gaps and failings which it exposes. In other words, I hope to learn from the process.

If people post responses, then conversations may open up. This is bound to be a good thing. I certainly believe that theology is best done as a discussion.

Which brings me to my title. Why "Infinitely Uncertain"?

Because I hold the general principle that anyone who starts talking about God had better remember that God is infinite. And we are finite. Which means that we will never be able fully to grasp everything about God. We will never get the full and final answer to any of our ponderings. Any results of our theologizing will be provisional. We need to recognize the vastness of our own uncertainty. This means we must all have the charity to say to others, "You may be more right, I may be more right, the truth probably lies somewhere in between." Sometimes (often?) we have to settle for whatever we can make work in any given situation. We may have to agree to differ, and live with out uncertainty. We may manage to agree that we are tending towards the truth, whatever it may turn out to be.

This doesn't mean that I think there are no "right" or "wrong" answers to the questions we ask - God is the God of truth, after all - but it does mean we can never be quite sure we've got the right answer. I believe that the truth is absolute (it's "out there"), but I'm never going to have all of it. Or even most of it. God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1.15,19; Hebrews 1.3), and continues to reveal himself through the Holy Spirit (John 16.12-13). But we are left struggling to make sense of this revelation afresh in each generation. That job never finishes.

I reckon that the moment you think you've pinned God down is exactly the moment when you're furthest away from the Truth. We must never give up seeking. Never rest on what we think we know. My lack of certainty should admit no limits. I am, I hope, infinitely uncertain.

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