Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Good Theology Makes You Sing

"For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand." So wrote C. S. Lewis (where, anyone?).
Lewis's experience is also mine (without the pipe!). I rarely open a devotional book, unless I know they are devotions laden with good doctrine, like Starck's Prayer Book (currently on sale at CPH; you'll be eternally grateful for spending the US$7.99 on this priceless devotional treasure). My most profound devotional reading experiences have come from reading good doctrinal theology, the sort most people seem to find dry and lifeless, but which I have found have the capacity to both enlighten the mind and set the heart singing...on the inside at least! 

Actually, the link between theology and song is well established in historic Lutheranism, but the tradition is becoming harder to maintain in practice at the parochial level these days. Be that as it may, for Lutherans, doctrine is life and sound theology leads to doxology. Never let a Pietist tell you any different! 

So, dear reader, if you find your run of the mill devotional books are becoming less appetising and you want to engage your mind as well as your heart in devotional reading, do not be afraid to venture into good theology. Ask your pastor for recommendations and guidance. 

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