Real life–that’s the life you actually live in case you haven’t been there in a while. It’s not the one on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest where everybody is having an awesome day and their hair never looked so good.
Real life on my end also excludes the imagined life that professional theologians pontificate about behind their blockade of black-rimmed glasses. I mean can’t someone buy tortoise shell?
Real life, with some common sense and wisdom attached to it, teaches more about theology than I ever learned in seminary (which makes me miss that $20,000 all the more). I’m not discounting seminary, but I am saying it isn’t the be-all and end-all of theological training or ministry preparation.
I say that because on a handful of occasions I’ve processed something for a long time, years even, in the theological realm, and confidently asserted my position to Lindsey (my not theologically trained common sense, wise wife). And I reached a conclusion, or at least a satisfactory resting place (such as with predestination or with what life looks like for someone who is saved). And on these occasions, I stand on the other side as my wife.
But on these occasions, I’ve ended up on her side. And it was real life that led me to reexamine my otherwise studious position(s). Staring into the eyes of my first child, fresh out of the womb, undid all that I’d surmised about predestination.
The point of this post is to say that Jesus entered the real world, not simply to die. He became incarnate to show that the real world matters. That life communicates truths about the Source of life. That all of our theologizing has to be done through Jesus, the embodiment of God’s purpose and personality.
To whom did Jesus say, “Sorry, you were damned before the creation of the world”? To whom did Jesus say, “Sorry, you’re beyond the reach of the Father’s grace and mercy”?
I think part of maturing as a believer and theologian (they can’t be separated, by the way) is being willing to ask, “Is there something I’ve missed?” “Is there something to other position I haven’t considered or have mischaracterized?”