“I am doggedly sworn to irrelevance, insofar as relevance implies a corrupt indebtedness to modernity. . . . My deepest desire as a theologian is to be permitted to study the unchanging God without some pragmatic reason.  I simply want to enjoy the study of God — not write about it, not view it in relation to its political residue, or pretentiously imagine it will have some social effect.  The joy of inquiry into God is a sufficient end in itself. . . .

I relish those times when there are no responsibilities but to engage in this quiet dialogue that is my vocation.  Then, I readpray, studypray, workpray, thinkpray, because there is nothing I more want to do.

So when old activist friends ask why I’m not out there on the street working to change the world, I answer that I am out on the street in the most serious way by being here with my books, and if you see no connection there, you have not understood my vocation.  I do not love the suffering poor less by offering them what they need more.”

Thomas C. Oden, “Last Wednesday’s Theology,” Christianity Today, 10 February 1992, page 9.

This post was originally published on The Gospel Coalition

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