© 2013 John Casimir O'Keefe

The Center of a Creative Theology

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How does one create a Creative Theology? One centered on Christ, love and creativity, and not on a doctrinal stance; one where other voices are invited to speak, share and question, even if you and others disagree with them; one where doctrine and dogma have no place, but where an open conversation takes place and moves the community of faith forward at God-Speed; one where what someone was, or is, has little to do with where God is moving them; one where love, life and relationships are developed and questions are open to all. What would you think such a theology was centered on? What do you think this theology look like?

When I say A Creative Theology I am not speaking in terms of how God creates, just that God creates and since we are created in the image of God, we create as well. Given that, given that we are made in the image of God, for me, it is a given that we should also be creative. Think about it for a few minutes, process it and let it form in your mind. Understand that we are co-creators in this world, our actions, or plans, our journey should always keep in mind the idea that we are co-creators with God, and we are called to care, love and bring out the wonder of this creation. In that, a Creative Theology should focus on all of God’s creation and embrace everything that is around us, people, places and things. Which leads to the question, What does it take to develop a Creative Theology? Here are the key elements I believe we need to understand to develop a Creative Theology:

Simple: Simple is ways better, complexity comes from our individual desire to please everyone, and in turn pleasing no one. Simplicity invites us to give up control, while complexity comes out of a desire to control. The more complex we make our theology, the more you need someone to help you figure it all out. Theology has become so complex, that the average person has a hard time understanding what the preacher is talking about. Keep it simple, so people can understand. Remember, theology that is complex is of no use to people, so they in turn believe that God is of no use to their lives.

Relevant and Timeless: This one is hard, because it requires us to be in today while knowing yesterday; it connects us to our past, while not allowing that past to control our present and future. No theology is formed in a vacuum of timelessness. While we do need to bring the past with us, we must never be driven by the elements of that past. We remember our past; we do not live in the past. Without being relevant we share with those who are seeking to know about God is not relevant.

Embrace Mystery: A Creative Theology is one that has no hidden agendas, no hidden meaning, but at the same time it embraces the mystery of the faith. Creativity often has a mystical element that can only be seen by those willing to delve into the creative force in our lives. For example, if you want to be my friend simply to share Christ with me, you do not want to be my friend – your friendship should come with no strings – so it is with our theology.

Flexible: not ridged or fixed. Things that are ridged brake. Theology that is ridged brakes. Now, flexibility does not mean “weak” – it means flexible. It is not selling out what you believe; it understands what others believe.

Scriptural: based on a solid reading of the teachings of Christ – not on the Christ you desire, or meets your political views. If we base of theology on anything else we are not Christians – simple (remember, keep it simple)

Collective: breed and based in community. Community determines the understanding of scripture, so they determine the theology.

You see, creativity should be the center of all we do and think. When we talk about Creative Theology, I am not talking about a doctrinal theology – but a solid, good, core, deep Creative Theology that can hold the world we see, and the world God has for us. If you think about it, a doctrinal theology tells us that God is one way, and the world is another – yet when we see God’s people acting in the world we notice no difference at all in them and the world they live in.

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