Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Affective Theology and a Pot of Nard

Just come across Ron Frost's post on Affective Theology here.

Last night I led a homegroup discussion (for the first time) on John 12, focusing mainly on how, actually, Judas makes a good point about the expensive pot of perfume poured over Jesus' feet so extravagantly.  Not only the poor, but also the money raised from selling the nard could have gone on better travel arrangements for Jesus' ministry team, more snazzy resources, publishing a religious tract, or even, thinking sensibly, a small pension for Mary when she gets really old.

We got talking about how Mary's love for Christ was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and how she so (to the point of offensiveness) overflows with love for Christ that simply trying to be a better person and kind and nice are way, way, way behind her.  She is in supernatural territory, where her love is the Holy Spirit loving through her; her own natural love could not ever have reached such heights of...

Ah, yes, but here is where things went a little awry.  Am I saying that the human will is incapable of loving God as he ought to be loved?  What of responsibility and moral duty?  It was agreed that I was probably in very grave danger with my airy-fairy (I hate to say it, but that's what was said) talk of God moving us in the affections by his love rather than us strengthening our will to love him and become better Christians.  

It was all very amicable though.  Went out for a drink with the vicar later, and we discussed it.  Am really glad I did, because otherwise I would have gone to bed really wondering if I had got all this grace-stuff wrong.  

One last point: why is it that those who worry that a theology of grace will lead to orgies are the least hedonistic people there are, and why are those who worry about a theology of works the least likely to be caught up in legalistic disciplines? 

1 comment:

  1. Christianity is full of paradoxes - probably why it is so rich in its depths.