When I look at the religious conversations I’ve had again and again, the papers I’ve written, the books I’m fascinated by, I can’t help noticing how frequently I find myself coming back again and again to some of the same themes. There are certain questions which have haunted me for years; I feel almost compelled to keep returning to them, to explore them further, to try approaching them from yet another angle. When it comes to these particular problems, you might fairly accuse me of being somewhat obsessed (my siblings and friends could certainly attest to this). Some examples:
1) Issues related to grace. What is it? Where is it? How does it work? How does it relate, in particular, to human freedom? How do faith and works interact? How is change possible in a human life? In a nutshell, I keep coming back to the driving question behind much of Martin Luther’s theology: how can a sinner find a merciful God?
2) The conundrum of religious pluralism. How do I make sense of the multiplicity of religions in the world? Is there a way to remain committed to the particular truth claims of one faith while remaining open to truth existing outside of it? Is there really “one true church,” and if so, what does that mean about the rest of them, and about God’s involvement in the world?
If anyone would like to share, I’m curious–to what issues (religious or otherwise) do you find yourself returning again and again? What are the questions you find particularly compelling, the ones you can’t seem to leave alone?
(Added note: In this particular thread, I’d prefer that people keep their comments focused on the questions they themselves have, as opposed to answering those of others.)
- 21 February 2007