Somehow I feel the need to remind ourselves again how insignificant and irrelevant theology is in the ruts of today’s everyday life. So uninteresting that most don’t even get as far as the second sentence here, because you switch off right away with “theology”. On the other hand, anyone who has made it to this third sentence is probably a Christian. And we have to remind ourselves that we brought this soup on ourselves.
Some of us have tried to be “cool,” to spice up the bland image of believers. Others tried to be “faithful”, to preserve the old traditions. Both ways are good and right as long as it is done out of love. And yet everyone misses the mark, and the world, so loved by God, just senses it. Our outer forms, clothes, or songs no longer matter. Because the thing we like to see as the “core” of the message, say John 3:16, means nothing to people today, and by that I mean absolutely nothing. Whichever form, shape, or structure we choose, it doesn’t make the core more relevant as a result. We just have to face it.
It may motivate some of us to become even more “faithful” and traditional, perhaps even more radical. Such trends are not only seen in the US. Others feel motivated to become even “cooler”. Every week, millions of euros are spent on pious stage shows worldwide. The third group would like to resign, somehing that can not only be measured this by the increasing number of deconversions, but also by the many remaining priests and pastors who are increasingly struggling with frustration and psychological problems.
I, on the other hand, would like to see it as an opportunity. The irrelevance of today’s theology in the world gives us the opportunity to leave everything behind and start all over again.
What if church history began today? What if we didn’t see ourselves as bound by tradition, didn’t have a dusty reputation to escape from because we don’t yet have a reputation? Where would we start then? If we came to our city for the first time like Paul came to Athens, how would we speak, communicate, act? What would go viral today, becoming a grassroots movement?
Above all, however, we must fearlessly face the key question: Why? If there was nothing to preserve or defend, why on Earth would we want to start writing a new church history in the first place? What would motivate us to do this? Our very personal answer to this questions could become a revelation. And maybe even a spark of hope.