A Theologian, Undone

Following seminary I found myself in the position of being unable to read and write theology anymore. Regardless of my initial reasons for embracing the discipline, they had since been revealed as a bankrupt attempt to gain mastery over God, myself, and everything else. If only I could tie together the rapidly unraveling threads, if only I could find the master concept, if only I could get the being of God, then everything would be okay, I would be okay, things would turn out all right.

Eventually, however, life caught up.

The intellectual and spiritual structures I had spent so long trying to fashion for myself came crashing down, and I was forced to confront the impossibility, the futility, of the task I had set for myself. Controlling God, myself, and the world through cognitive exertion (or any exertion) was an impossibility. Simply put: theology no longer worked.

For someone who had spent the previous decade desperately, relentlessly, trying to consume, process, and synthesize as much of the field as possible, this was a surprise. What do you do when your method for coping with life stops working? What do you do when your illusions are stripped away and Decay’s work on your life is laid bare? What do you do when you realize you’ve just been shouting into the void, and it has refused to answer?

Better: What do you do when it does?