Theologians Don¬â„t Know Nothing.

These days it is tough being a theologian. Polls show evidence of a widespread spiritual quest, but the search seldom leads to the theologian’s door. This is odd because by definition the theologian’s entire life is devoted to, studying “the science of God or of religion; the science which treats of the existence, character, and attributes of God, his laws and government, the doctrines we are to believe, and the duties we are to practice.”

C.S. Lewis blamed the disinterest in theology on theologians saying fifty years ago, “When I began, Christianity came before the great mass of my unbelieving fellow countrymen either in the highly emotional form offered by revivalists or in the unintelligible language of the highly cultured clergymen. Most men were reached by neither. My task was therefore simply that of a translator one turning Christian doctrine, or what he believed to be such, into the vernacular, into language that unscholarly people would attend to and could understand¢â‚¬¦One thing is sure. If the real theologians had tackled this laborious work of translation about a hundred years ago, when they began to lose touch with the people (for whom Christ died), there would have been no place for me.”

The complaint about their irrelevance has entered popular culture through WILCO whose new album, A Ghost is Born,” features a song titled “Theologians,” the first line of which is, “theologians don’t know nothing, about my soul.”

Students of culture know that in the 60’s everyday discussions about theology moved from religious and academic institutions into the popular culture. We may not like pop theology, but for many of today’s youth it is the only theology they know. SO I recommend we learn to “exegete” (Exposition; explanation; especially, a critical explanation of a text or portion of Scripture) the lyrics of songs and the text of films and I teach a class at Seattle Pacific University designed to teach just that. I also offer a one day or weekend event to churches and if your church might be interested have them contact us for more information. :

In the meantime here are the lyrics. Spend a little time “translating” them!

By Wilco: Jeff Tweedy, Mikael Jorgensen, Girard

Theologians don’t know nothing
About my soul
About my soul
I’m an ocean
And this emotion
Slow motion
Slow motion

Illiterati lumen fedei
god is with us everyday
That illiterate light
Is with us every night

They don’t know nothing
About my soul
Oh they don’t know

They thin my heart with little things
And my life with change
in so many ways
I find more missing every day


I’m going away
Where you will look for me
Where I’m going you cannot come
No one’s ever gonna take my life from me
I lay it down
A ghost is born A ghost is born A ghost is born

I am a notion
I am all emotion
I am a cherry ghost
Cherry ghost Hey I’m a cherry ghost A cherry ghost

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    ‚©CRS Communications 7/13/04

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