Nicholas Lash on ‘Doing Theology’

‘“It is not reason that is against us, but imagination.” … The ways in which we “see” the world, its story and its destiny; the ways in which we “see” what human beings are, and what they’re for, and how they are related to each other and the world around them; these things are shaped and structured by the stories that we tell, the cities we inhabit, the buildings in which we live, and work, and play; by how we handle through drama, art and song the things that give us pain and bring us joy. What does the world look like? What do we look like? What does God look like? It is not easy to think Christian thoughts in a culture whose imagination, whose ways of “seeing” the world and everything there is to see, are increasingly unschooled by Christianity and, to a considerable and deepening extent, quite hostile to it.

In such a situation, continuing to hold the Gospel’s truth makes much more serious and dangerous demands than mere lip-service paid to undigested information. Unless we make that truth our own through thought, and pain, and argument through prayer and study and an unflinching quest for understanding – it will be chipped away, reshaped, eroded, by the power of an imagining fed by other springs, tuned to quite different stories. And this unceasing, strenuous, vulnerable attempt to make some Christian sense of things, nor just in what we say, but through the ways in which we “see” the world, is what is known as doing theology’. – Nicholas Lash, Holiness, Speech and Silence: Reflections on the Question of God (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 3–4.

One comment

  1. How true and pertinent. Listening Cardinal Coramck Murphy-O’conor on radio Four this morning it was so sad that the Catholic hierachy are totally unable to put any sense of this across even if on this occasion the journalist seemed quite helpful. By contrast Dwokins sounded rational ( and if you don’t look deeper- which most people don’t) convincing.


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