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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

A Wonderful Fragrance and a Richer Faith

Updated: Jun 14, 2019

I have just finished preparing beef cheeks in red wine, with four beef cheeks, a brown onion, three cloves of garlic, one stick of celery, three carrots, one litre of beef stock, one cup of red wine, three bay leaves and two tablespoons of thyme leaves. It is now simmering in the slow cooker for the next eight hours and the whole house is being pervaded with the wonderful fragrance of it slowly cooking. The whole process causes me to think of how we are to do and think about our theologising.

Theologising is best done slowly over many years allowing our thinking to mature, mellow and lose its harshness. In the early years, we tend to see everything in black and white, but as we grow older we recognise there are many different shades of grey and many other colours as well that make for a richer understanding and deeper faith that is less certain and more open on many issues to a broader range of perspectives than we understood or were open to in our youth. Consequently, we are more ready to lay aside the certainty of our youth and exchange it for a faith that is constantly seeking understanding while recognising that our best efforts are only ever partial and incomplete.

Moreover, theologising is a slow process that requires many ingredients to release a wonderful fragrance and produce a richness that only comes about with time and dedication to the One who leads us into newness of life. It is as the ingredients drawn from many influences, different traditions of faith, various contexts, many experiences of life, including suffering and pain that we are opened up to fresh, deeper understandings of faith and a richer way of living both in the present and in the hope of the eschatological reality of the kingdom that is yet to be consummated in the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord. It is then that the fragrance of the coming One will be released, and others will be blessed and theology will seem so much less important than it seemed in the days of our youth.

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