Welcome to Folk Theologian! Why don’t you sit for a spell?
Folk Theologian is a title first offered to me by a friend when he introduced me to someone. I liked it so much, I decided to keep it. For those of you unfamiliar with the term theologian, it is a fancy title usually used for those in academia who have spent a lot of time learning what and how people think about God. Theology comes from the Greek words, “Theos,” meaning God, and “logy” which is the study of a subject. So, a theologian is someone who studies God, or at the very least, studies the concept of God.
The word “folk” is usually used to describe something that is traditional to a culture or group of people. There is folk music, which for European Americans includes mostly banjos, mandolins, and fiddles. African folk music has an assortment of various regional and tribal musical traditions; there are drums, flutes, pipes, and stringed instruments. You will find a wide assortment of traditional and modern instruments and singing styles in the plethora of global folk music. You might say that when something is “folk” it is of the common people, or common folk. Folk culture shouldn’t be confused with pop culture, or popular culture, which is an industry or market that tells us what styles and fashions we should like. Folk culture is what comes out of a people group’s collective work. Pop culture is run by industry and marketing. Folk culture is created for itself, for the expression of beauty. Pop culture is created for sales.
So what does it mean to be a “folk theologian?” I take it to mean someone who studies, or thinks about God for the mere purpose of contemplating his beauty and grandeur. A “folk theologian” pursues God and knowledge of him in order to grow in love of God, and that she might love and serve the common people, the common folk. She does not seek accolades or awards, degrees or doctorates. And she most definitely does not sell her thoughts and ideas for profit. She does theology for its own sake because she loves God, people, and thinking about the relationship between God and people. A “folk theologian” is a theologian of the people.
What you will find in my thinking are common strains that push away from ambitions of profit and recognition towards gift and service. I’m obviously not a perfect person so I will fail a lot of the time to do just this. I hope you will be charitable and patient with me when I do. You will also find in my writing a desire to know and understand the subject, whether it be God, the cosmos, humans, or our various cultures. I see all things tied together, in one big choreography, one dance, that points to Jesus Christ. I sincerely believe our universe, all that is seen and unseen, is interwoven with Christ as the center of it all. Each thread is knitted together into one tapestry that speaks forth the glory of God.
Let me introduce you to each section. Under the “Inside the Mind of J.F. Ethan Rose,” you’ll find a general summary of who I am, what I love, and other “About Me” kinds of things. “Reality Rethought” is a blog devoted to thinking about what a new epistemic age might look like post-postmodernism. “Untimely Thinking” posts are devoted more to my thoughts about a wide variety of subjects and topics. “The Mind in a Glass Jar” is specifically geared towards my personal struggle with mental illness as well as what I’ve learned about mental health through the struggle. “Poems” is a collection of my poetry, and “Contact” allows you to get in touch with me.
You can let me know your thoughts through the “Contact” page, or you can comment on individual posts. I can’t promise that I’ll respond to every comment, but I will try to do so if your comment is thought-provoking or asks a question.
I hope you enjoy your time here!