By Dr Marty Folsom Relational Theology is a term I use to bring Trinitarian-Incarnational conversations to the non-theological people I engage. My core belief is that God exists in relationship and all that God does is for the purpose of relationship. If the questions we ask are not based in the philosophical arguments of the centuries, but rather listen carefully to the faithfulness of God to create and embrace the world created and sustained in love, we can begin to hear scripture reveal the relational purposes of God as the personal engagement of God speaking into our human communities and relations.
Rational thinking is not excluded in this venture, it is the logic of the life that is lived from God’s love. We love because He first loved us. That is logic that flows from relation. When reason comes first, it is an exercise of the human’s attempt to fit God, and the world, into the box of human experience. Relationships do not fit in boxes and so are left for ‘private life.’ Rationality in the West has marginalized the relational.
But when the relational takes priority, we are all learners in relation to the physical and personal contexts in which we exist. Jesus is the one who relationally reveals the Father who loves us. From this flows the logic of the body of Christ living in relation, loving out the life of connection, communion, and participation in the economy of Grace, the life of self-gift poured out from the heart of the Father, through the servant life of the Son, and poured out by the Spirit in the church for the world. And Grace brings us home again to be filled and delighted in the arms of love again. Relational theology for me is to sing the song that the score has invited us to sing, fresh and new, ancient and resonating.