My son is at that stage where he loves to ask questions. We can’t sit through a single minute of an Olympic event without engaging in a dialectic about what “that man on skis” is doing. Some times its fun. And at others, well, its a little annoying.

What I love about it though is that nothing can be taken for granted. This past week, I had my theological limits put to the test at my uncle’s funeral. You can’t pull anything past my son, and it only took a few minutes for him to catch on that “Uncle Bill” wasn’t sleeping. I was glad he asked. And I am glad I could be there to answer what he wanted to know. That way I knew he was getting a real answer and not some pithy dismissal that are too frequent at funerals.

Those exchanges pushed me to think about where we get our theology. Because my son was asking similar questions about heaven and death, I listened to how the adults in the room were talking about God. It was amazing to me how the least religious in the room could conjure up a theological vocabulary. Where did their language find its roots?

As I think about discipleship and theology in the Brethren tradition I can’t help but ask the same question. Where are our pastors, lay leaders, and congregation members getting their theology. I would venture a guess that it isn’t just one source. But as soon as I think that, I shudder to think of the types of sources Brethren find helpful in thinking about God.

What scares me the most is that the preponderance of sources are from outside Brethren circles. In other words, our members are more likely to get their devotions, theology, and personal guidance from the local Christian bookstore or radio station than they are to find Brethren sources. If nothing else, shouldn’t their spiritual and theological vocabulary be coming from the congregational community in which they participate?

I know I am barely scratching the surface, but I still wonder- “from whence our theology”?