Some thoughts from a missiology lecture the other morning delivered by Valdir Raul Steuernagel, a German/Brazilian who was all heart and mind.  He works for World Vision in South America.  The lecture series was called “Doing Theology with Mary.”  It was so edifying.  I didn’t realize how little I have interacted with or been edified by Mary’s story.  (If I put the thought in quotes, it is a paraphrase of what was said in the lecture.)

“Living life is like being the kite runner.  You need to know the geography, but more vital is knowing where the wind blows, even if it means running the opposite direction of where the kite seems to be going.”  (Theology is the geography, the wind is God’s leading and you are the runner.)  “God help me to be open to capture you where you come.”

“Mary is a theologian who, as a woman, offered her womb to God- the most intimate place where life is fertilized.”

“You cannot forget when God comes into your life and asks for your womb.  Only those who offer their womb can do theology.”

“Theology is knowing God and being known.  Theology is action.” (rather Kierkegaardian in one sense)

In regards to John 2:1-10.  The story in which Mary asks Jesus to take care of the wine shortage at a wedding.  “How do you do theology in expectation?  You ask for the jars to be cleaned and you live in expectancy of the wine. … Living with the taste of wine in her mouth before seeing the wine.” 

“All good theology begins and ends at the foot of the cross… Theology that staggers until it arrives at the foot of the cross, confesses its inadequacy, whispers its plea for forgiveness and celebrates its encounter with the grace of God.”

Here’s a thought I came away with regarding learning from Mary’s story.   We should appropriate what is true, not run from what has been misappropriated and lose out on what God is speaking to us.

Said by Prof. Juan Martinez regarding the Magnificat in his lecture response: “Theology is what we sing, not what we write in books.”  “Mary’s song is an invitation to get messed up.”  

P.S.  Things that get a good laugh out of a crowd in seminary – crediting differing verb placements in a couple of languages with creating a confused theology.  The place was in a mild uproar.