I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out." So complained 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot. It is true that much that passes for theology fails to illumine the path, and it does not help to claim that nontheological reasoning is often equally opaque. Thankfully, a few lights shine brightly.
Paul Dafydd Jones of the University of Virginia argues that patience should receive a starring role in theology—the patience of God, first of all. This move would help to dispel some negative images of God: God as a control freak, God as a puppeteer. It would help people see that God grants human beings time and space to make sense of themselves and to grow. It would encourage people to be patient with themselves and others. There is a place for impatience—the Hebrew prophets and Jesus demonstrated an impatience for injustice—but impatience must be marked by patience for people to live into the future that God hopes for them (Theology Today, April).