The Inside Column 4/9

Posted in: The Inside Column- Aug 04, 2013 No Comments

Welcome to St Barnabas this morning.

At the end of June I reached the halfway point in my Theology degree. I am often asked the question “are you enjoying your study?” I find that this is quite a complicated question to   answer,  and of course if I am asked when I have a big essay due or in exam week the  answer will probably be no! But seriously, probably the best way for me to describe the process of studying theology is that it is challenging, sometimes it feels like I’m being stretched and moulded and then remoulded. I find the more I learn about God and the world that we live in, the more I realise what I don’t know!

I think we often want to simplify or reduce the world around us, to break it down into smaller parts and make it easier for us to understand. This way of thinking has been explored in the area of philosophy called reductionism, where complex systems are thought to be just the sum of its parts and we can understand the whole by examining the parts.

In the church we have a tendency to do this to God. As Christians, we talk about God being a God of love, or mercy, or justice, or perhaps even a wrathful God. The reality is that God is all of these and much more. We need to be cautious about focussing on just one aspect of God’s character or trying to reduce or simplify God to fit what we can understand, because we can end up with too narrow a view of who God is.

As I learn more about God and how we as Christians work this out in different ways I find that I catch new glimpses of God’s character not only when I am doing my course work but as I study the Bible, pray, sings songs of      worship, as well as through receiving Christian teaching and meeting with others. All Christians do theology as we each work out what we    believe about God. The result of learning more about God is that we also learn more about ourselves.


This is where the process of spiritual formation or discipleship comes in. God has called each one of us to become Christ like. This is an   inward process of character transformation that not only benefits us, but it enables us to do the kingdom work God that has given us to do. It also means that we will be prepared when Jesus returns – just like the wise young women in the Gospel reading today.


Have a great week!


Victoria Askin

Worship Intern

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