I typically do not like seafood. However, there was one instance when I thoroughly enjoyed eating something that was once a slimy, scaly, rubbery fish. While training at a hockey camp a couple years ago, a player’s father cooked salmon on his barbeque for everyone. I hesitated to try it, but eventually curiosity got the better of me. It was delicious! I do not know what was different about this salmon, but it was some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted.
You may be wondering, “Why don’t you like salmon after enjoying it so much that one time?” When it comes to salmon, I’ve found some people know how to cook it better than others, and because of this I usually take the safe route and avoid it altogether.
This mentality relates closely to many Christians’ attitude towards theology. In the local church there seems to be a current migration away from theological conversations because people are tired of its perceived arguments, divisions, and, at times, its impracticality. It is true that engaging with theology has left a bad taste in many Christians’ mouths. I also know, when done well, it can taste like the most amazing salmon in the world.
Two ingredients need to be part of any recipe for good theology in the local church. First, pastors and teachers need to be adequately prepared to responsibly handle Scripture. In general, becoming a good cook takes training and does not happen overnight. The same process is necessary for those who are called to “feed” the local church. My first year at Kingswood University has proved I am not a chef yet, and many times I’ve served theology to others that was about as tasty as microwaved salmon with peanut butter.
Secondly, the church needs to assume a humble posture of willingness to learn. God calls all of his children to grow in our understanding of his goodness, but he does not expect us to do so alone. He has gifted his church with teachers and shepherds to help us on our journey.
Just like good salmon, good theology will leave you hungry for one more bite. It can simultaneously satisfy and intensify the hunger of the soul. Find those who know how to cook and sit at their table. What they serve just might surprise you!