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The danger of “recipe theology”

Some years ago, when I first read Larry Crabb’s book, “The Silence of Adam” I found his description of ”recipe theology” helpful, as well as convicting.  Let me explain.  In his book Crabb makes the distinction between “recipe theology” and “transcendent theology.”  Recipe theology is most comfortable in what Crabb calls “the sphere of management.”  The sphere of management, “exists wherever things are more or less predictable, where there is order that can be understood well enough so that we can use it to make our live work as we want.”  Richard Rohr calls that living in our control towers.  Men, that is what we do so naturally.  But there comes a time when God asks us to not just get out, but rather to “jump”  out of the control tower.  That is a frightening prospect for men.  But wild men know this is what must take place at some point on the journey.  

What Crabb advocates for a wild man, that is, a man getting in touch with his passion, is “transcendent theology.”  Transcendent theology “exists wherever we are dealing with things that are finally unpredictable, where whatever order exists cannot be understood well enough to give us the control we desire.”  In other words, get out of the control tower. A man finally comes to the realization that living in the tower of control does not bring fulfillment.  Fulfillment will come as we get in touch with the life of God within.  The psalmist put it will when he said, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Ps. 37:4 NLT). 

Crabb observes that, ”masculinity begins to grow when a man asks questions for which he knows there are no answers.”  Men, there will always be mysteries in our lives.  Just think about your relationships with women, and especially your wife.  God asks us to enter the confusion, where relationally we have little control or understanding of what will happen.  A wild man is one who is learning to embrace the darkness brought about by the chaos of relationships.   He will have to admit, “I don’t know what to do.” 

This is the place of dependence and humility.  We come the the point of not knowing what to do or think, particularly in relationships.   As men, Crabb suggests, we have to ask the question, “Do I have what it takes to do what a real man is called by God to do?”    The answer, of course, is no.  We are not capable of navigating the confusion and sometimes chaos of personal relationships.  We need to come to Jesus in humility and brokenness, asking that our hearts might be transformed.  Remember men, the work always begins on the inside, in the deep hidden place of our soul, where all those secrets of hidden.  Turn your heart to Jesus, and embrace the light of his presence.  He will lead you in the darkness and confusion.  Above all, don’t be a afraid to enter the darkness.  I submit to you, that it is the cowardly man that will not jump out of the control tower and embrace the darkness.

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