Readers may have noticed something of a drop-off in theology blogging in these parts recently. Partly, this is just because my interest in things waxes and wanes, and I’ve found that my attention has alighted on other subjects lately.
I’ve also been considering the question of what niche the “amateur” theology blog is trying to fill. In the past several years, blogs by pastors, theologians, theology grad students, and other “religious professionals” have proliferated. It’s increasingly difficult for the layperson to engage on a substantive level in the increasingly sophisitcated blogospheric debates about, say, the finer points of Karl Barth’s views on election.
Since starting this blog I’ve always had in the back of my mind the idea from C.S. Lewis that there’s some value in the equivalent of “schoolboys comparing notes” on theology, as distinguished from the authoritative dissemination of specialized scholarly knowledge. Theology, almost by definition, is something that all lay Christians should take some interest in because, at its broadest, it’s simply the attempt to understand one’s faith and relate it both to our knowledge about the world and how we live our lives. No thoughtful person of faith can avoid doing that to some extent.
The lay person who lacks the time, inclination, training, or ability to delve into the thickets of scholarly argumentation will always be at something of a disadvantage compared to the professionals. Perhaps, though, the amateur theo-blogger has the advantage that he or she is attempting to apply theology to life outside the academic cloister–to kick the tires and see if theological concepts can do some work in the “real” world. Hopefully there’s some value in that.