As Iron Sharpens Iron: Comparative Theology Today
"As iron sharpens iron, so does one person (or religious tradition) sharpen another" (Proverbs 27:17) is valuable because it enhances our capacity to love and enjoy God forever by tuning the mind for the same purpose Bach crafted music, "for the glory of God and the refreshment of the human spirit" (Wilibald Gurlitt). So, whether we read or think or whatever we do, may it all be for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Martin Luther King, Jr. appends, "No matter how small one thinks his life's work is in terms of the norms of the world . . . it has cosmic significance if he is serving humanity and doing the will of God."
As Comparative Theologians today, let us as be like the biblical David who served the purpose of God in his generation (Acts 13:36, NRSV) by comparing theology as Michelangelo carved, as Ella Fitzgerald sang, as the Keralan Kathakali dance, as Pablo Neruda spoke poetry, as Shusaka Endo penned prose. When like the biblical David, we go to our ancestors (Acts 13:37), may we then kneel as faithful workers joyfully receiving the Divine invitation, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:21, ESV).
This article was previously published in the Journal of Comparative Theology (March 2010) and is reprinted with permission. Refer to the original publication for full reference information.
Benjamin B. DeVan completed his A.A. at Young Harris College, a B.S. at Berry College, his M.A. in Counseling atAsbury Theological Seminary, and his M.Div. at Duke University before enrolling at Harvard (Th.M., 2010) forfurther study in world religions, with a thesis on Evangelical Christians and Islam.