We Christians are a fickle crowd. Because various -ics and -ists (such scholastics and cessationists) have at times reduced our faith to nothing more than ideas and mental ascent, “theologians” are one of those several groups that the avid “judge not” crowd judges mercilessly and without a second thought (possibly without the first thought as well). When I once told a Charismatic family member that I sensed a calling to be a theologian, their response was a half joking prayer for deliverance from demonic influences.
I am sorry to put it so bluntly, but such judgments are without merit–they are in fact stupid. Furthermore they reveal a complete failure to understand one of the great realities of love. A true lover studies the beloved ceaselessly. The truest lover is undaunted in his studies in spite of the fact that the loved one seems to prove a deeper and more confusing mystery with each new revelation. Love is such that each new mystery only draws the lover into deeper study.
This study is not simply a mental exercise made from distant observations. Such insipid studies are merely the delusions of a stalker–they create idols rather than reveal mysteries. The lover’s education is far more experiential and experimental and mystical.
Still, don’t think that the lover is not systematic. Those who love deeply can be very systematic in their pursuit of the details of little or great significance–what’s her favorite color, what’s his favorite song, does she like chocolate, does he want kids, what does she dream about, who are his friends, etc.
True theologians are deep lovers of God; we want to know everything we can about the God we love in all his wonder and beauty and mystery. We want to look into the depths of His mystery. With Moses we say, “show us your glory.” With that “disciple who Jesus loved” we seek to speak the unthinkable–that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.”