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Theology in practice

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Theology in practice

Every person in his head there is a certain image of the world, which determines his attitude to events. Obviously, there is a certain “image of God” – the perception of God, the attitude of man towards Him. This “image” is rarely formulated explicitly, but at the same time is expressed literally in everything: in prayer, in participation in church life, in relation to the world and people around.

It happens that a person’s spiritual development is inhibited precisely because of misconceptions about God. For example, at the level of the mind, a person can firmly know that God is a Father who rejoices about a repentant sinner (Luke 15: 4-7), but internally still treats Him as a harsh teacher, ready to punish for the slightest offense. The results are obvious – fear, distrust, the desire to hide from God, and not get close to him. Or, on the contrary, a person perceives God as a grandmother, who must feed and protect from troubles in time, and when He does not do this, he is offended.

Offense

Therefore, it is extremely important to reveal hidden ideas about God. One of the convenient tools for this is meditation on the gospel. You just have to ask the right questions when reading a passage: where is God in this passage, what does this text reveal to you about God?

For example, during the discussion of the parable about talents (Matt.25: 14-30) you can hear the following questions:

How should I deal with works and talents entrusted to me by God?

Who am I in this parable, what do I usually do?

What, based on this parable, do I need to change in my life?

These are all important and correct questions. But besides the “moral and practical” problems, it is useful to touch upon the “theological” ones:

What does this passage tell me about God?

How do the words and deeds of the host in the parable relate to how God acts in my life?

Does the parable fit my ideas of God?

For example, when I read a parable, I get bewildered: “my” God is much more delicate with his servants; He “must” first point out the wrong behavior, give an opportunity to correct, and not immediately throw “into the outer darkness”. Based on this parable, perhaps I perceive God as more “liberal” than He really is, and I lose sight of the fact that not all mistakes can be corrected later.

Based on these reflections, I can make a more voluminous and, I hope, closer to the reality of the image of God; take another step towards understanding God as He is.

I wish honesty and courage in examining myself – and see you in 2 weeks!

Matvey Berhin
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