You may or may not have noticed, but I went ahead and changed the title of the blog back to “Marturo.” I mulled the idea over for a while before executing, but I think this is the right choice.
If you remember back to about a month ago, I brought up the idea of Marturo again, and offered a short history of what it is. I mentioned in that post Kevin Vanhoozer’s The Drama of Doctrine and now is the time to draw all the threads together. In a succinct quote, Vanhoozer says:
The goal of theology is to form disciples who participate fittingly in the theo-drama preciesely as compelling witnesses to the resurrection (p. 358).
Before I just changed it, the title of this blog was “Think Theologically.” While still being committed to showing and doing that, I wanted to put the thinking and the theology into a more holistic framework.
That is where Marturo comes in. Using the dramatic metaphor, Vanhoozer says, “Doctrine is a necessary aid to learning our parts and hence a means of literal ‘character’ formation” (p. 364). Theology then, and learning to think theologically servers a larger purpose and isn’t just a means in itself. Learning doctrine and how to think theologically should be part of a larger project of Christian character formation.
To cobble together several quotes from Vanhoozer:
Doctrine serves the project of spiritual formation by helping us better understand both the action and the actor in which and in whom we discover our true identities. Christians are persons “in Christ,” persons whom the Spirit unites to Christ and persons in whom the Spirit forms Christ.
Doctrine provides the direction for living in ways that are consistent with one’s true identity as a disciple and, in so doing, grounds the identity of the disciple in the identity of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ identity and role came together in his unique mission; similarly, our identities and roles merge together too, in the notion of witness. For disciples participate in the mission of their Lord by attesting to its power and decisiveness in all that we say and do. We are imitators of Christ not because we need to complete his mission but in order to witness to its finality.
The purpose of doctrine is to conform us to the truth, and we confrom to the truth by bearing true witness to what God has done and is doing in Christ through the Spirit. We bear true witness by speaking, and embodying, the truth in love. (pp 396-397).
This witnessing is what Marturo is all about, since after all “marturo” literally means “I witness.” Marturo then includes the idea of learning doctrine and how to think theologically, but it doesn’t end there and serves the larger purpose of being an effective witness of Christ. This makes it necessary to keep doctrinal and character developments linked. I think this will help to keep both ministry efforts here on the blog and in my community in proper perspective and part of a holistic enterprise rather than a possibly reductionistic think tank program.
So this year, I want to not only flesh that out more fully here on the blog, I want to spend time developing individuals in my community to be more effective witnesses. In short, this is a resolution for more focus on discipleship. Some of that will be brought to fruition through a ministry internship I’ve started at our church, and some of that will be through living out life on life. One avenue already underway is the reading group we started back in December.
Early next week I’d like to get a post up outlining some more specifics of what a full orbed philosophy of Marturo might look like, as well as some concrete ways it will develop this coming year. In the meantime I’ll keep refining the concept, but I think this is enough of a sketch for you to get an idea of why the blog name changed and why it came full circle.