POSTED BY MINDOJ
In the last two years, I have asked God questions that I would not have dared to ask him in all my ten previous years in theological training and pastoral work. I knew all the definitions of theological terms and I had all the answers, supported by church history, anthropology and missiology. My intellect had learnt all the rules of the game of theology. And so the last two years have shaken the core of my faith and theology more than anything I had experienced in my life. I am on my journey toward reflective theology.
In my journey of faith as a young girl growing up in the village, I was first a folk theologian, I lived like an old testament Christian, literary, since I was disciple by a woman who believed that Christian women should cover their head and wear long garments. It was characterized by a deep spiritual piety and the woman who took in our group of eight eager teens probably did not know better. It was definitely better than the judgmental Jesus I had met in my Sunday school class; Jesus just wanted me to obey my parents. In folk phase, I found a Jesus who loved me. The links to two articles below can give you an idea of folk theology at its best with many adherents. The phrase ‘the church in Africa is said to be a mile wide and an inch deep’ was popularized at the Lambeth Conference in 1998 and is true to date.http://www.religionnewsblog.com/24120/kingdom-seekers-fellowship-prays-to-raise-dead-pastor andhttp://nakuru.hivisasa.com/news/police-arrest-subukia-faith-healing-believer. My transition to lay theology, took place as I attended high school and was disciple by the Navigators, I began to question the beliefs I held at home. I began to desire to study the word of God earnestly. My desire to teach the Bible grew. In Seminary, as I studied hermeneutics and doctrine, I slowly transformed to ministerial theology, and practiced it in the mission field amongst unreached people groups in Kenya.
So, where I am in the spectrum of theological reflection? I believe I am at the experiential and reflective stage. I have been reading the Bible in search for answers to life’s questions especially the question of suffering and death. I have conducted many funeral services, but the funeral service of a one’s own child can make the questions that had good organized theological answers seem trivial. The theological heritage of the church does not prepare a pastor/minister of the gospel to an incarnational experience of the faith that we hold. The history of the African church has been short, and Africans have only theologized in the last century. Our theologies have been adopted from the west and we have aped them bell, hymn and vestment. As the church was planted in African soil, with its post-colonial underpinnings, we have not taken time to reflect on the theologies we have adopted. Personal journey through challenges and opportunities has helped my understand what it means to do missions in a context of pain and suffering experienced in Africa mostly through hunger and preventable deaths.
I must then engage in what the authors’ term as a ‘contextually constructive theology’. One of the articles I was…