Theology

Less Traveled: How Different Ideas Make All The Difference

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are a product of our influences. The traditions that have been handed down to us shape us in one form or another. These can be very good things, but they can also insulate us.

As much as our theology focuses our attention in a particular direction, it also draws our awareness away from other perspectives. This creates rigid, almost imperceptible boundaries in our thinking. When we encounter other individuals that have views or ideas that challenge our own, these boundaries prevent us from being able to engage them. Instead, we engage our perceptions of those ideas, which are often filtered and misunderstood.

Yet, we are not trapped by this. The key to discovering those less traveled roads, to opening ourselves to thinking deeper and wider, is to connect with those travelers whose journey follows a route different from our own.

Do Pets Go To Heaven?

During my undergraduate, I remember sitting around at lunch one afternoon with several of my friends and colleagues in the Biblical Studies department. One of them had recently lost her pet of many years, and was still very much in the midst of the grief that comes with such a loss.

That day at the table she turned our attention towards a theological question that flowed naturally out of her grief. She simply asked, "Do pets go to heaven?"

Being married to a veterinary technician, it is a question I have come to ask several times myself. The answer that I found might just surprise you.

The Blood Of Jesus In Us: 3 Ways Communion Changes Lives

“You're telling me that you believe that Christ comes back to life every Sunday in the form of a bowl of crackers, and then you proceed to just eat the man?”

So asked an astonished Charlie in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Despite the irreverence, the question belies an important realization: the gift of Holy Communion is a highly misunderstood sacrament in our increasingly post-Christian culture.

Worse, it is highly misunderstood even among Christians.

Yet, there is power in the blood of Jesus. When we gather on Sunday to partake of bread and wine, consecrated to convey the body and blood of our Lord, something happens beyond just a ritual of remembrance. The Eucharist changes us. It impacts us. It unites and transforms us.

Here are three ways it leaves us different.

Why Our Gospel Is Incomplete

Sin and separation. Atonement and reconciliation. This is what we often proclaim as the Gospel message, that Jesus has died and rose and now grace has come to us. This is a tidy summary, but it is grossly incomplete. There is so much more to the Gospel than four spiritual laws.

Why Honest Faith Requires Honest Doubt

Doubt, we are often told, is the enemy to faith. When we encounter questions, we suppress them or turn to any possible answer to assuage doubt's lingering specter. What if doubt is not actually the enemy, but is instead the key to unlocking a deeply vibrant life of faith?