Coming Down from the Clouds


When I was a kid, I dreamed I could fly like Superman. He was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able leap tall buildings in a single bound. The Man of Steel was untouchable. He soared far above the commoners - out of reach for those without super human abilities. 

Lois Lane, the Metropolis journalist, made Superman touchable. She reported his feats to people who only dreamed of getting a glimpse of him in person. 

Theology is the same way. The great theologians are untouchable. Their words are powerful and quick, they knock us down and make us think.  Their books soar above the thoughts of the average person - with a way of thinking that is out of reach. 

We need more Lois Lane.

We need the missionaries who make the untouchable, touchable. We need translators who make the complicated, simple. We need Christians who give their friends and family a glimpse of Jesus. 

A weird thing happens to us the longer we are a Christian. We start to unknowingly live in the clouds. We learn a new language with words our neighbors don't understand. We get consumed with the thoughts and ideas that are out of reach for the average business man or stay-at-home mom. We walk around with a theology that is stuck in the clouds. We forget that theology is for everyday life. 

The most brilliant theologians often require us taking a flight into the clouds. We need to learn the words and their way of thinking. This is important, we need to spend time with greats like Luther and Walther.  But we cannot forget, theology isn't meant to stay up in the clouds. 

Theology isn't meant to be out of touch.  Theology isn't meant to collect dust on a shelf, it's meant to go into your homes and neighborhoods and workplaces. The Gospel isn't an ethereal truth that happens someplace else, it's a practical, daily reality that sets us free. 
  
A friend of mine once advised me, "Comprehend high and communicate low."  JI Packer similarly said, "Feed sheep, not giraffes." 

You might enjoy taking a trip up to the clouds of theological terminology that nobody but you can understand. But make sure you come down from the clouds. If you can't speak your theology in a language your friends at the bar can understand, your theology is not as good as you think it is.  

@@Can you speak your theology in a language your friends at the bar can understand?@@

Read the books by dead guys. Study your denomination's confessions. Listen to podcast after podcast. And find ways to make those words you consume accessible to the people you meet. 

Listen to these incredible words from Martin Luther: 

"To preach plain and simple is a great art: Christ himself talks of tilling ground, of mustard seed, etc; he uses altogether homely and similitudes.  Cursed are all preachers that in the church aim at high and hard things, and neglecting the saving health of the poor unlearned people, seek their own honor and praise...When I preach, I sink myself deep down.  I regard neither Doctors or Magistrates, of whom, are here in this church above forty; but I have my eye to the multitude of young people, children, and servants, of whom are more than 2000.  I preach to those."  - Martin Luther

Preaching, writing, counseling, conversations.  These all require the work of a journalist. They require the Christian to study theology and to capture the beauty and the truths and give people a glimpse of it. The Gospel sets people free... they just need to hear it. As Christians we take that message into a world unfamiliar with our language, burnt by people who speak our language, and uneasy with anything remotely connected to church.  @@The Gospel isn't out of reach for anyone.@@ Jesus comes for the least and the lowly, the weak and the wounded, the burdened to broken.  Jesus gives hope to those who have no hope and "we are all witnesses of it."

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