Over these first four issues, I want us to consider the nature of theology, or, what we call spiritual theology.
Spiritual theology isn’t a new term. The late Eugene Peterson served as a professor of spiritual theology at Regent in Vancouver. Richard Lovelace writes about spiritual theology in his book, Dynamics of Spiritual Life. The term, spiritual theology, has been around for years but has been lost in the lanes of Christianity that you and I are most likely swimming in. But we can retrieve it.
Maybe you are familiar with the spiritual disciplines (Bible reading, prayer, fasting, and so on). But spiritual theology isn’t only about those practices and habits of personal growth in Christ. Spiritual theology is about those disciplines and more. It is about the habits of growth and the living of what we learn and love about God and his word.
“Spiritual theology,” according to Eugene Peterson, “is the attention we give to living what we know and believe about God.” This is the Christian life. Knowing the grace of God and then living from it, for it. Knowing Christ forgives any sinner who comes to him, then confessing our sins to him, and inviting others to do the same. Knowing God is patient, so we ask him to grow us in patience— and we are mindful of pursuing patience as a child spills milk on the cloth seats of your truck and the smell baked in over the weekend.
Learning, Loving, Living
Jen Wilkin captures the important intersection of theology (learning) and spirituality (living) when she says, “The heart cannot love what the mind doesn’t know.” And I’d like to add—the body lives what you love. We act from our affections. The heart is the mission control of our daily lives. Spiritual theology give attention to this dynamic of learning, loving, living.
The apostle Paul tells us how Christians ought to live. Or, I guess we should say who we are to live for.
And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:15)
We no longer live for ourselves, but for Jesus, the one who died for our sins and then rose from the dead, and who is alive and well in the heavenly places. That’s the point of spiritual theology. Pointing us toward Jesus. The Christian life is looking to Christ.
This newsletter will be an exploration and encouragement of spiritual theology. I’ll provide small writings that will aim to renew your heart, soul, and mind to love God and your neighbor as yourself. Here’s what to expect every week:
A short writing or devotional. (Much shorter than today’s.)
The Harp: Music that renews the soul, helping us to reflect on the goodness of God.
The Charcuterie: Articles, videos, and resources that will help us to think about biblical spirituality, theology and godliness.
The Roast with Gravy: Books I’m reading or have read recently that encourage biblical spirituality.
The Breadcrumb: A short but delicious quote.
Why all the food metaphors? Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
Now, let’s take the newsletter for a spin.
If there is something you’d like to see, not see, or would want more of, let me know. You are getting these early newsletters as a test-drive. I really do want your input because this newsletter is meant to serve you.
“I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously.” Psalm 13:6
Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him! - Psalm 34:8
What Does it Mean to be a Christian?
God is working in and through the daily, faithful, consistent discipline of Bible reading—even if it’s hard to see it in the moment.
Younger women need to be discipled by older women in their local churches. Older women have the privilege of teaching God’s grace to young saints.
Brett McCracken highlights 14 musical artists whose songs help little kids love a big God.
The best book I’ve read this year, without question, is Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund. Outside of the Bible, this is the most important book I’ve read in 2020. Shoot, it might be the most important book of a generation. I could spend hours talking about this book because it displays the heart of Jesus. Get it.
Trust in your faithfulness 𝘵𝘰 Christ, and you will despair.
Trust in the faithfulness 𝘰𝘧 Christ, and you can rest.