Monday, February 05, 2007

Nazarene Magisterium?

Hi everybody. For those of you who don't know--or remember--me, I'm Dave Belcher...just an ordinary guy who plays the guitar. I just finished an MA in theology from Vanderbilt University, and I was around when Brannon was a guitar-slinging rockstar in a band I will not here mention!

Well, I've been thinking a whole lot about my "vocation" lately (finishing a degree can force that upon a person), and I keep falling back against my previous "thrownness" (to poach on Heidegger's terminology) into the field of theology. I have always understood myself to be a theologian "of and for the church" (not "the people"...never been too keen on American democracy); and this has led me more recently to a consideration of my theological vocation as a particular teaching vocation to and for the Church of the Nazarene. But, immediately my considerations begged the question: "Is there room for something like this in the Church of the Nazarene, or, is it possible for the Church of the Nazarene to have a sort of 'magisterium' within its body?" (and though we usually associate that word "magisterium" with the office of the pope in the RC church, it is really just another word for teaching that answers questions of how our truth statements--or doctrines--are in fact other words: it is an exercising of faith seeking understanding).

I think this has implications for all of us here concerned with the sacramental life of the church, or with a "sanctifying worship" through the sacraments--since telling us why these are good for our church is an exercise of "speculative theology" and not simply an affirmation of faith. So, what do y'all think? [I would especially appreciate comments from those of you who might have some historical background info on "theologial education" within the church body...which, of course, is not the same thing as "caravans." But, please, all comments are always welcome]. Peace.

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