Posted by: Dan | April 10, 2006

Keepers and Fulfillers

God does not choose the same men to keep his word as to fulfill it.
~ George Bernanos [as quoted by Gustavo Gutierrez in Theology of Liberation]

Of course, Bernanos does not see this as a good thing. His comment is a rather acerbic reflection on the fact that so many contemporary theologians (who are safeguarding the doctrines of the Church) are far removed from the day to day realities and responsibilities of faith. He is criticising those who do theology from an “ivory tower”. To Bernanos and Guiterrez, it is exceedingly odd that one could be a doctor of the Word, and not also be in solidarity with the poor.

For if our theology truly is faith seeking understanding, that means that we should also be seeking the lost sheep, journeying alongside of the abandoned, weeping with those who weep, and carrying a very real, very tangible, very painful, and very shameful cross.

Unfortunately it seems that theologians are for more concerned with gaining credibility, respect, and prestige instead of embracing vulnerability, powerlessness, and shame. Thus, as Bernanos suggests, it is often a very different group of people who end up fulfilling God's word.

Of course, this dichotomy need not exist and both sides suffer where it does exist. What we need are theologians on the margins, theologians in the alleyways. I wonder what sort of transformation would occur if the keepers of the Word would unite with the fulfillers of the Word?

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