I had this peanuts comic strip on my background at work (at the Writing Center) for quite a while last Spring. When I found it in a google image search, I jumped on it because I was thrilled to see something having to do with theology and writing. But the other day it occurred to me (it hadn’t really before) that it also reflects the view that theology is way too often close-minded or “dogmatic.”
Then the word “dogmatic” reminded me of a personality profile test I took when I was at Fuller Seminary. In the section where you give your immediate response to certain words, “dogmatic” came up. It gave four or five choices of responses, all of which were probably negative. Now, I’d been studying The Foundations of Dogmatics by Otto Weber for David Dorman’s Systematic Theology class (I hadn’t read any of Barth’s Church Dogmatics yet), and I was just loving it, especially the sections on the church and communion. I don’t think I’ve ever read such warm thinking. So, I don’t remember whether I checked A, B, C, or D for my answer. But either way, I was thrown off by the question. I knew the test designers expected a negative reaction, but I had a very warm reaction to it.
What a waste of good word. I like dogmatics. I love being “dogmatic.”