Theology Is Like Cooking

Everybody cooks.  Everybody prepares food.  I have known some people who said that they couldn’t cook and that they didn’t cook.  But I think they were may have had a different definition of cooking.  To them cooking was a mysterious process by which strange and wonderous raw ingredients were turned from a bunch of stuff into food.  So, what they ate and what they prepared wasn’t really cooking.  They might get out the sandwich meat and bread and put it together but that wasn’t really cooking.  They might cook a potato in the microwave but that wasn’t really cooking.  They might not be great chiefs, but they made a meal, they took something raw and cooked it.  Admit it or not they were cooking and I think everyone who eats cooks.  Some cook better than others, some learned more about cooking and some have whole carriers that revolve around cooking but everyone who eats cooks.  I have come to think that theology is the same way.  Every Christian does theology.  I know some people who think theology is a big scary word for something they pay their Pastor to do.   Theology is something that involves mysterious books with names like Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Old Testament Survey, Suma Theologica, Christology, Commentary on the… so and so forth.  You need special training to understand it and its not something you would do that often anyway.  When you get past the intimidating word though what is theology.  The United Methodist church says that theology, “is our effort to reflect upon God’s gracious action in our lives.”  Meaning that theology is our effort to make sense of Gods work in the world.  Its our efforts to figure out how to apply the Bible and our faith to todays world and to all kinds of situations.  That means that if you ever tried to answer why something has happened in the world including saying it’s a mystery or we will understand later you have done theology.  If you have ever read the Bible and asked how do I apply this verse in my life you are doing theology.  I have heard theology in the line at the Dollar Store, waiting on an oil change, it goes on all around us and every Christian I know is doing it.  Why do we do it?  Well everyone cooks because they are hungry.  Everyone does theology because there is a need to make sense of the world around us and God’s work in it.  Why do we sometimes disagree about it?  Why are their different foods?  Not just because we like different things but because different places have access to different ingredients.  Theology is the same.  Like cooking there are some universals, salt, water, heat but lots of different spices and ingredients are regional.  There are universal parts to theology Scripture, prayer, the Holy Spirit but some places ask different questions, some come from very different backgrounds and see the world and God differently.  Just like it can be exciting, inspiring and sometimes upsetting to try new foods so to with different theologies.  In our adult Bible Study this month we have talked about what theology is and next we will talk about what tools we have to use in it.  My Dad tells Boy Scouts that he is teaching to cook that “it is just as easy to make good food as it is bad food.”  Then he shows them the tools and techniques to make good food.  It is just as easy to do good theology as it is to do bad theology.  Our next couple of weeks at Bible study and on here we are going to talk about some of those tools.  I hope you will join us.

-Pastor Caleb Pitkin


Thanks to:

Doing Local Theology By Clemens Sedmak

Water Buffalo Theology By Kosuke Koyama

The Book of Discipline 2016


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