CONNECT: How do you feel?
McFague says ‘every Christian is called to be a theologian.’ (p. 25) She also says that theology requires us to examine our deepest faith-convictions, to see whether our core beliefs are worthy of allegiance. Can you remember a time when you questioned your beliefs?
Think of a time when a deeply-held belief shaped the way you acted. What did you do or say, and what happened next? Did you think through your beliefs before you acted? Do you wish you had?
What dangers (if any) lie in not bringing our deepest beliefs into view?
How can we hold strong faith-convictions without idolizing them?
CONTENT: What do you think?
McFague lists three key characteristics of theology (p. 29-32): every theology has a fundamental conviction, operates in a particular social context, and has a central goal. In McFague’s theology, what is her fundamental conviction? What is the basic context for her theology? What is her theology’s goal?
McFague says, “Religions are in the business of envisioning counter-cultural alternatives on how to live rightly; in fact, that may be one of the few things on which all religions agree.” (p. 35) She also says theology has a critical role in society: to provide an alternate vision of the good life. Do you agree?
McFague suggests that ecological theology is both ‘suited to North American Christians’ yet ‘rather unattractive.’ How does ecological theology suit us? How is it unattractive? Why might some think of ecological theology as a radically new approach?
COMMITMENT: What can you do?
McFague writes, “Theological statements … are risky, partial, uncertain assertions made by relative, historically-bound creatures about universal matters.” (p. 29) What would happen if our churches took this understanding of God-language seriously?
What resources does your own faith tradition offer you for practical discipleship?
What daily practices would you suggest to help believers examine their beliefs, discern God’s presence in their lives, and live according to God’s will in the real world?
These questions have been adapted from
The Alternative Good Life: A Study Guide to Life Abundant,
by David C. Teel. Published by Fortress Press.