Discourse: A Snapshot of my Personal Theology

The Dome above the Altar in St. Paul's Cathedral (also known as:  "St. Paul's Beyond the Walls") in Rome.  [Picture taken in January 2008] I believe this is a helpful starting display of what God's community can look like.
The Dome above the Altar in St. Paul’s Cathedral (also known as: “St. Paul’s Beyond the Walls”) in Rome. [Picture taken in January 2008]
I believe this is a helpful starting display of what God’s community can look like.
This past month I have had the opportunity to be challenged, pushed, affirmed, and so much more.  I have experienced this mix of emotions and actions by participating in a “Discourse:  God” pilot class, taught by my wife Allison. No, in case you are wondering or worried, I don’t intend for this post to be a not so veiled promotion.

However, to give you some background, Discourse, formerly called “Building Your Personal Theology,” is an opportunity for you with a group of other people to discern individually and together what you each believe and understand about God at this point in time.  This is not definitive in any way, but I believe what it does extremely well is provide space to wonder and wrestle, and to do so with the support of others who are also wondering and wrestling in their own faith journeys and trying to articulate what they believe, understand, question, and wonder about.

As part of this process, each participant is asked and invited to present their understanding about God at this particular time in their lives.  People do this in light of what seems to be their core understanding of God and in about eight different areas or expressions of who God is or might be, or at least how we come to understand who God is and what God might be up to in the world.  For example, my core understanding of God, seems to be that for me, “God is True Community.”

A Blank Display of "My Personal Theology"
A Blank Display of “My Personal Theology”

As an extension of this practice, I intend to unpack this core idea by offering a series of blog posts about these different eight areas (in no particular order necessarily):  God is; God creates; God reveals; God guides; God loves; God envisions; God heals; and God relates.  The first post then in the series will be:  “God is.”  So over the next couple of weeks, I will share where I am at in my discernment of who God is for me.  These reflections again, aren’t definitive and may not be true at all for you.  Rather, these are meant to be articulations of how I understand or have discerned what God is up to or might be up to.  They certainly will leave open questions, and probably create many more questions.  But isn’t that just the point?  Faith for me is about having the hope, but also the willingness to wonder, imagine, question, and grow in relationship with God.

Special thanks needs to go especially to Pastor Siri Erickson, the original designer and visionary of this wonderful program which I believe has great fruit and potential (you can follower her on Twitter too).  I have found it to be the deepest and most helpful adult faith formation curriculum I have experienced, and also know that it is currently being adapted and piloted even in an extended fashion as part of a confirmation program as well.  Thanks also should go to my wife Allison Siburg, who is leading the particular class I have had the pleasure of taking, and who is helping share this resource and pilot it with other congregations.  Thanks finally should go to Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minnesota for allowing this program to develop and giving it the support to do so locally and then to take the missional and collaborative step to share it with other congregations and faith communities to learn together and perhaps even co-create.

I hope you enjoy walking with me as I share some reflections on these areas of who God is, as far as I can understand at this point, in the days and weeks ahead. Thanks for reading the blog and being a part of the conversation!

For easy access, here are the posts in this series:

1) God Is

2) God Creates

3) God Reveals

4) God Guides

5) God Loves

6) God Envisions

7) God Heals

8) God Relates

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