In relation to the last post, lets probe a bit further. Assuming — as seems eminently reasonable — that most theologians’ actual shape of living tends to depart sharply from the theological projects they promote, how shall we evaluate this? One’s immediate reaction is usually one of indignation: “How could so and so write all this books about the nature of fidelity in the Old Testament and then abandon his wife to run off with his secretary as soon as he retired?”
Now, of course that’s an utterly fair question to pose to such a person, but that doesn’t tell us how we should subsequently view that person’s theological writings. In fact, if we insisted that the only theological writings we gave serious weight to were ones whose authors clearly conformed to in their lives, we’d have precious little to read (including some fairly sizeable parts of the Bible I daresay).
I would suggest that the frequent discord between theology and theologians isn’t actually such a bad thing, at least in one sense. If theologians could only writing in accordance with their moral achievements no one could ever write in a way that called herself into question. Theology would merely be an exercise in self-congratulation if we only recommended our own achievements. That our attempts to talk about God often end up condemning us is, you might say, far better than the alternative. If our God-talk simply validated us, clearly we’d be doing something far worse. Though, of course this happens all the time, too.