Relational Theology

As we each come into our own individual adult awareness, we are often unaware of the powerful forces that exert influence over us which in turn throws us into a crisis of sorts. Simply stated, life doesn’t feel right… it’s not the way we think it should be.

Life should be more fulfilling, frustrations should be lower and joy should be easier to find and love should require less effort and exertion.

We say to ourselves, “If I find the right soul mate, love should just happen… easily.”

If we don’t’ have some sort of a Biblical world view to explain the influences of Adam and Eve (FOO #2) and our own family (FOO #3), we will live in ignorance of these two powerful gravitational fields and we will struggle mightily with the tension between idealism and reality.

The Verve in Bittersweet Symphony says,

“Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life

Trying to make ends meet,

You’re a slave to money then you die.”

While the Apostle Paul acknowledges the Bittersweet Symphony of life, he also shares a bright and hopeful future that helps to mitigate the cynicism. 

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory

he will reveal to us later. 

For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day

when God will reveal who his children really are.

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. 

But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day

 when it will join God’s children  in glorious freedom from death and decay. 

For we know that all creation has been groaning

as in the pains of childbirth  right up to the present time.

 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us

as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies

to be released from sin and suffering.

We, too, wait with eager hope for the day

when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,

including the new bodies he as promised us. 

We were given this hope when we were saved. 

(If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.  But is we look forward to something we don’t have, we must wait patiently and confidently)

Romans 8: 18-25 (NLT).”

This problem of the tension between idealism and reality is fully faced within in this passage.  We learn that:

  • All creation is subjected to futility and groans.
  • Our fallen nature subjected to the curse chafes against how we were made… in the image and likeness of God which is eternal in nature. We cannot imagine death and decline.
  • Death seems very unnatural… for it is… a cow never thinks about it.

From last week we learned that because we were made in his image and likeness:

  • We were made for community, thus we are drawn toward one another as humankind.
  • Even before the fall, a single man (Adam) was in the very presence of God, yet God said it was not good for him to be alone.  That is without a companion at the same level of creation (God is the highest level, then angels, then man, then animals).   So, he created a female companion before sin and the fall to provide a companion at the same level.
  • So, were drawn toward relationship, yet with the brokenness we all have within us due to FOO #1 and #2, sin creeps into every relationship making life difficult.

So how does this clash between idealism and reality affect all relationships and romance?

  • During the infatuation stage of relationship, all of us put the best foot forward, whether we are a person, church, business or organization.  All of tend toward blindness during this stage and we only want to see the good (idealism).  This initial bliss is intoxicating as the brain’s chemistry overtakes us with its euphoric juices.   This idealistic phase is a dangerous time to make commitments, have sex or get married because we do not accurately assess people (reality) while drunk with love.
  • After some time, as Steve Arterburn says, the “old ugly foot comes dragging on in” and our self imposed idealism is spoiled by reality.
  • After the initial shock, anger, grief, disillusionment and betrayal will set in.  Clearly seeing the flaws within the other person, we then want to correct the non ideal in the other person.  Stress and agitation grows within us which escalates the friction and so the relational battles begin.
  • Can the reality of life chip away at this idealism so that we are more emotionally guarded resulting is less disappointment and idealistic exposure?   Yes, for most, unless you are a university professor.

What are the practical effects when this idealism – reality clash runs amuck within our souls and minds?

Encounters with the ugly feet of life really bothers us at our core and we become agitated, emotionally dysregulated and we flounder and drift on a sea of humanistic relativism.  Many of us drown here because we do not have a Biblical World view.

When our anxious core is upset we develop tensions, fears, anxieties, phobias, compulsions, obsessions, etc. which leads us to search for all sorts of ways to cool it or numb it leading to addictions of all kinds.

For others, much of our searching, scratching, longing, itching, plotting, and endeavors are attempts to quell the pain within.

For some, it may be less about ourselves and more about others as we take up causes… especially we are hurt by them. So we get involved in action groups, and ideological movements whether they be gender, philosophical, or conspiracy theory based.

While I am not against fighting for what is right, for many without a Biblical world view, the tension between idealism and reality consumes and destroys many relationships and the personal peace which can be found by resting in Jesus Christ and anticipating His coming Kingdom.

Thanks for listening,

Love and Blessings,

Milan & Kay