Today I’m going to share with you part of a larger interview I did with Stuart McKnight of theologynow.ca. We covered a lot of ground in the interview and this little segment had to do with the question I asked him about a theology of crisis, specifically a theology of Covid and how we handle it and respond to it theologically. I think you’ll find this useful and stimulating and you’ll see that it applies not just to Corvid. So jump in and have a listen.
Daren “We’re recording this right now for those who will be listening to this down the road in May 2020 during the time of Covid-19. We don’t yet know what the final outcome at all will be. Are we in the middle of it, at the end of it, the beginning, we have no idea, but it is going to change our rules and our culture, economy, and our churches.
“You did a post a while ago, a brief theology of Covid-19. Can you just summarize what you said or what you’d even say today to ministry leaders and followers of Jesus about this situation we’re in from a theological perspective? There’s a big question.”
Watch the Full Interview Here:
Stuart “Yeah, I think it’s a great question. Part of it was I was provoked to make this little video because I had been sent a video by somebody else. It was a very well-meaning video from a Christian commentary about how Covid-19 was basically the result of us ostracizing God. Right. So we had put God outside of our education systems, and that’s why the schools are closed. We put God outside of our businesses and that’s why we can’t go shopping anymore. So there was this sort of what I felt a fairly naive Christian critique on what’s going on. Well-meaning, but deeply flawed.
“So I wanted to make this little video in response, this little teach that basically says we do not have the power or the capacity to put God anywhere. God is exactly where he is and always will be, which is at the very center of all being. And from him and through him and to him are all things. He’s the source. And he determines us, he defines us. We don’t move him around like a golden calf.
“So I made this little video just to say, look, get a grip. Give your head a shake. This isn’t a result of God being petty with us because he feels somehow emotionally bruised because we’ve moved him here or there. We have to discern the times and realize that God is more present and more central or as present and as central as he has ever been. And the creation really exists within the creator.
“We are constantly and imminently within his presence, and Covid-19 doesn’t change one bit of that. It gives us new challenges to face and problems to solve, and unfortunately, new prayers and lament to move through your grief, to experience in some cases. But it hasn’t changed God. It hasn’t changed the gospel. I just really wanted to respond to that, to have another counter voice to it. It’s been the video that when I posted it, it’s been the most viewed and forwarded.”
Daren “It was a very, very good clip. You know, it’s interesting, I’m in Ephesians one this week and just looking at all God’s blessings and stuff, but then it brings us back and says it’s for the praise of his glorious grace, to the praise of his glory. That it’s about him, not about us. We have this tendency to make it about us, whether it’s in crisis or not. We’re not the main character in the plot.”
Stuart “And the thing is, it’s what we always did, Daren, is we anthropomorphize God, right? We reshape God in our image. So we make him like a sort of slightly moody, kindly grandfather, who we’ve offended through our social choices, and then the result is this Covid piece. It’s way more complex and interesting and important than that. There’s more to it. And that’s why the church has been trying to figure out a theocracy like a theology of evil from the beginning. And we still haven’t got there. Right. So there’s a deep degree of mystery and frustration and faith that’s involved in this, too.”
Daren “Yes. There’s mystery huge in this, and whether it’s Covid or something else. The principles all hold, that we need to keep coming back to who he is and what he’s about.”
Hope you found something in there worthwhile and stimulating. You can learn more about Stewart at theologynow.ca. If you would like to hear the whole interview, check it out on my blog at darenwride.com
God bless. Press on.