Everybody has a theology. That is to say, everyone has a perspective of God and a way in which they interact with that perspective. You are what you think. What you think about God is the most important thought you will ever have. Personal theology is ingrained in the human experience. Everyone views the world through a lens: a belief system pertaining to how the world operates, morals that govern people’s conduct, and customs concerning how people interact in community. Every person’s worldview shapes their theology: social grids, ideas impressed early in life, and individual biases become so ingrained that virtually everything is viewed through life’s experiences.
Theological constructs dictate how others are treated, where boundaries are drawn and maintained, how religious congregations treat outsiders, how decisions are made, how we treat our children, how congregations worship, what stories we enjoy telling, and more. Things people say, their actions, and self-expressions all relate to their understanding of God. We are theological creatures. Understanding Missio Dei establishes a missional lens through which we can purposefully engage God and the world.
Theology is a broad subject. Narrowing theology down to the specific subgenre of “mission” helps us process how to effectively function as the Body of Christ in the world. However, if we believe the mission of God is linked to every aspect of his existence, then it doesn’t help as much as one would like in a pursuit to think “theologically.” God is mission; everything he does is part of his mission.
Given the global extent of the Christian faith, an astonishing variety of people are doing theology in diverse situations. Over the years, theology has developed some negative connotations. Many people perceive theology as being intellectual and abstract, undertaken primarily by trained professionals who use language and concepts beyond the reach of the common person.
However, I argue that theology is something that every person uses. I believe this because I’ve never met a person who doesn’t have an idea about God. Everyone believes something about God, even if they believe he doesn’t exist, that still counts. Therefore, theology is an enterprise in which all people enter into, even when they don’t realize it. Remember, we are theological beings and we can’t help it. God’s grace has touched the life of every human being. Therefore, no one can live and not consider the Creator and Sustainer of their very existence.