Why do I get out of bed in the morning?
To get the kids to school on time. To get to work on time. To use the bathroom.
Without sufficient theological reflection, that’s about it.
With a little reflection, I remember the real reason: I do what I do because the kingdom of heaven is at hand–love, joy, peace, healing, reconciliation, miracles, answered prayer, all of it–is fully available for me, you, and everyone. We want it, we need it, and I’m one of the people who reminds us of these paradigm-shattering possibilities–to help humanity rise from the division, fear, and condemnation that we are used to, and to live in the aforementioned heaven on earth.
There is no single definition of theology, but it essentially involves studying God so that something useful, enlightening, or liberating can be revealed.
There is much more to theology than reading and writing. In fact, language is limited, so it can never fully describe the Unlimited, Eternal One. And yet you keep reading, so I keep writing….
The great, scholarly theologians teach that in any society, the dominant group controls the dominant theology. In Jesus’ day, the Jewish religious establishment led the study of God in Nazareth, and the Roman Empire determined what was useful and liberating for the people. So even though Jesus’ message made A LOT more sense than the Jews’, Greeks’, or Romans’, the Gospel rubbed some powerful people the wrong way, and was largely rejected.
In our times, who is the dominant group? Look no further than the other Golden Rule: “The one who has the gold rules.”
Last time I checked, our current rulers include the banks, Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, the military industrial complex, the news and entertainment industry, big oil, big pharma, big agro, illicit drug kingpins, Madison Avenue, people with inherited wealth, and anyone else who is paying millions of dollars for art.
Those earthly controllers aren’t all bad all the time. But, good or bad, they are only able to thrive because they perpetuate certain assumptions, that the rest of us accept. And you know what happens when you assume, right? You make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” There.
Here they are, folks, in no particular order…..the (my) top 10 dominant assumptions of our age.
- Debt is a way of life; we are too far gone to go back.
- Elected political leaders run the government and control our destiny.
- I live check to check, but I’m not “poor.”
- White supremacy is a problem.
- The USA has the best health care system in the world.
- If enough people lower their carbon footprint, we can save the environment/planet.
- Our military is good because it protects us and keeps us strong.
- Celebrities have more important voices and platforms than the rest of us.
- Rational people don’t believe in UFOs and other conspiracy theories.
- Faster wi-fi download speeds will make life better.
You won’t always find theology in church, in school, or even in talking about social justice with other smart people. Contemporary theology–information to enlighten and free today’s people–is found in recognizing these and many other assumptions, exposing the facts behind them, and living the Truth despite them.