Even though we are having a spot of fun with the World Cup of Modern Systematic Theologians it has sparked a bit of reflection on my part about the roles of aspiration. I know that aspiration is a dirty word in some Christian contexts, often mistaken for pride and selfish ambition. But I can’t help wondering at how these great theological voices perceived themselves prior to their renown?
I would suspect that many of them never set out to be ‘the’ next voice in theology, in fact a great many of them can distinctly trace their influences. But what is it that they set out to do that led them on the course towards greatness?
Indeed it isn’t simply becoming a theologian. We often joke about career options upon completion of our various theological degrees as St. Paul. I don’t really have to worry having already embarked on a career in pastoral ministry. But that isn’t why I entered into theology – I really want to teach. Regardless of fame, I want to be one of those who shape the generation that comes after me. I want to see them reach greater heights for Christ and I want to see the Church become all she can be, all that God has in His heart for her. That is the best I can do to name my own aspiration.
As I keep glimpsing the lives of those great women and men of God who have gone before me, I wonder how many had similar aspirations to me. I also wonder of those how many really speak to generations instead of congregations. Maybe we miss a lot of really important voices along the way. It is amazing how few of the voices in the WCoMST I am really familiar with. Boy do I have a long way to go. Here’s to the journey, and to the aspirations that keep us travelling.