Minister’s Message – October
From Rev. Sharon Wylie
The following are excerpts from Rev. Sharon Wylie’s sermon “Theology is Everywhere” offered on September 16, 2018:
Have you ever prayed for a parking spot? Not with hands clasped and eyes closed, but driving through a crowded parking lot? You might say, “please, oh please, oh please” out loud in your car. Who or what are you talking to, when you say, “please, oh please, oh please.”
Have you ever stood at the grave of a loved one, and spoken to them? Do you do that because you think they are listening, and if so, does that mean you think they still exist as an entity that can listen, even after they’ve died?
Have you ever wondered WHY something is happening to you? Or to someone else? Why me? Why them? In that wondering, isn’t there an assumption that what is happening is supposed to make some kind of sense? Do you believe there is a system of rewards and punishments we are living in? Who is doling out those rewards and punishments?
Day in and day out, we act in accordance with our beliefs, and most of us, most of the time, don’t often stop to think about those beliefs.
This is what theology is about. Theology literally translates as the study of God (“theos” being the Greek word for God), but it is defined more generally as the study of religious belief. Talking to a deceased loved one may have nothing at all to do with whether or not you think there is a God, but it is still part of a framework of religious beliefs that includes things like what happens when we die….
Theology matters. Like the devout man…dying because he waited for God to save him, like people who don’t care about climate change because of a belief that God gave us the earth to use up and destroy, like those who stay in abusive relationships because of the Christian teaching to turn the other cheek. Theology matters. Toxic theology needs to be named and recognized. Our beliefs should not harm us or others.
And at the same time, you need to know that good theology saves lives. A theology that tells LGBTQ people that God loves them just they way they are, that they have inherent worth and dignity—that theology saves lives. A theology that tells people raised in fundamentalist religions that there is nothing shameful or sinful about a free and responsible search for truth and meaning—that theology saves lives. A theology that tells silenced, marginalized, and oppressed peoples from all walks of life that human relations should be characterized by justice, equity, and compassion—that theology saves lives.