Book Extract: I only preach a relational theology
When Jesus was asked to give the greatest commandment in the Law, his reply essentially combined two Hebrew Scripture passages: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandments. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).
In combining Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, Jesus refused to make religion solely a matter between a person and God. Th e Law (technically “the Law of Moses”) was never intended to
prescribe ways in which we could be right with God without also being right with the people around us. Th e greatest commandment turns out to be about all relationships: with God, with my neighbor, with myself. Healthy religion (healthy spirituality) does not ignore any of the three.
When I began my ministry and someone asked what kind of theology I had, I would reply, “I have a relational theology that encompasses the full spectrum.” Th e questioner was usually seeking a list of things I believed (and there are things on such a list) but I still contend that what God is most interested in for all of us is far more than correct belief. In my many different congregational experiences, I have frequently encountered those who had all their theological ducks in a row but didn’t have a positive relationship with many people around them. I often wanted to ask about their theology with these three questions: How are you doing with God?
How are you doing with others? How are you doing with yourself? Simplistic, yes, but plainly shifting the focus to what life is all about.