There seems to be two kinds of theologians. The first type of theologian speaks to support or defend a"tradition". They "speak for God" and are "defenders of the faith". These are those in authority over others in specified institutions and positions. These theologians are exclusivist, at least in "appearance".
The other kind of theologian is one who does not make claims about speaking for "god" or a specific "tradition", but is speaking about what is universal, the ethical. The ethical is not based on revelational texts, but values.
The former bases their understanding and their theology on specific texts of "revelation" or tradition's authorities. These theologians are useful to benefit tradition's goals of growth, and communal impact and commitment.
But, I find that the ethical theologian doesn't have to be functioning within the institutional paradigm, but can use many means of "getting his message across". The purpose of these theologians is the concern for humanity, for individuals and for justice. These theologians can be journalists, lawyers, authors, teachers, activists, and even, politicians (wouldn't that be nice!).
Theologians can be anyone who cares about life in general and its larger purposes, or vision. And I think theological ethics is imperative in today's climate of expediency, pragmatism, and outcomes.
In America, it is obvious that many live for today's hamburger to be cooked well, and tomorrow's bills to be paid, but do not attend to what is happening to the larger concerns of our nation or the world at large. This attitude breeds an attitude of indifference and ultimately the downfall of our nation's imfluence and power abroad.
Others in our nation have an attitude of a different kind of entitlement, and special priviledge. These people disregard or disrepect others in their abuse of legalities that subvert the intent of the law and take advantage of the system. Their inside knowledge, either formal education or position give them a feeling of empowerment over others. This attitude breeds arrogance and ultimately leads to what has recently been seen on Wall Street, in larger corporations, or our politicians.
Both American groups are indifferent to our nation's values of equality before the law. One disrepects the law by not being "good citizens", as a lack of taking responsibility, while the other disregards the law's intent. Both undermine what has made our country great, "the rule of law". Both need a good dose of theological ethics.
Seminary CM10: The Rise of the Nones
3 hours ago