England manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, has picked a virtually unknown player, the 17 year old Theo Walcott, as part of his squad for next months World Cup in Germany. When asked why he had gone for a teenager he hasnâ€™t seen play and who hasnâ€™t started a Premiership game for his club, Arsenal, Sven replied with what for many must have been a rather inadequate answer â€“ â€˜sometimes you just have to go with youâ€™re instinct. Trust your intuition that this is right.â€™ This is hardly a sound epistemology on which to base player selection for such an important tournament. Fans and press alike want facts, statistics, evidence of ability and quantifiable experience, not an intuitive hunch. It would seem that Sven's critics prefer more enlightened methodologies in order to choose a World Cup squad.
This 'little' story caught my attention because what bothers me at the moment is whether itâ€™s appropriate for me to get all â€˜Svenâ€™ about my faith. Can I develop an intuitive theology or an instinctive missional and ecclesiological response to the world I find myself in? Or is such talk inappropriate, or worse, oxymoronic? I was discipled in a church culture that was (and perhaps in many ways still is) very rational in its approach to faith, theology and praxis. Any notion of intuitive responses to faith and culture or instinctive thoughts about God would have to brought into line with more â€˜appropriateâ€™ methodologies for knowing who God is and what God requires of us. But more and more I feel this suppresses something of my humanity and my ability to respond to life and to God. Theology may be faith seeking understanding - but understanding, it would seem, is a wholly rational endeavour.