Is there any reason to take theology seriously?
Sad to say, on the merits of most "serious" theology, I'd have to say without reservation, "No."
Like all intellectual disciplines, theology far too often is concerned with itself. Philosophers tend to read academic journals in philosophy. Chemists tend to read chemistry monographs. Psychology grad students pay attention to the latest buzz in psychology.
Yet, theology, at least, gives lip service to being more than just an intellectual pursuit. It is, in the words of a professor of mine at seminary, "the science of the church." As many a theologian has put it, theology is critical reflection on the Christian proclamation. As such, it has to account for more than just the theological content it offers. Theology certainly has to pay respect to philosophy. Contemporary theologians should be conversant, to say the least, in social theory and criticism, as well as cultural theory. At their best, theologians should also be able to converse on a relatively equal playing field with many other disciplines. Far too often, however, this is honored more in the breach than in actual fact.
One of the worst offenders in this regard is Jurgen Moltmann. While seeming to attempt to unite contemporary left-wing European and American political and social thought with a radical theology based on the eschatological promise of God incarnate in Jesus Christ, for the most part, he seems poorly informed about any serious developments past, oh, the mid-1960's or so. He name drops, for example, Christopher Lasch, without showing any sign that he has read, let alone, grappled with Lasch's cultural critique. While based, loosely, in a neo-Marxist framework rooted in the utopian thought of Ernst Bloch, Moltmann seems not to have read much beyond Chapter 59 of that book, the specific area where Bloch offers a Marxist reinterpretation of the prophetic challenge to established orthodoxy, even as he, Bloch, sees Jesus as transforming the dead god of Judaism in to the also quite dead god of Christianity, made only somewhat more palatable by the prophetic and utopian possibilities offered in Jesus' preaching of the Coming Kingdom.
There are theologians who seem to wrestle quite well with contemporary thought. In Exclusion and Embrace, Miroslav Volf draws upon two very different thinkers - Richard Rorty and Charles Taylor - in his discussion of contemporary society. Yet, Volf's work, as important as it is, also has its drawbacks, not the least of them being a preference for methodological dialecticism at the expense of a far more cogent argument.
David Tracy, the late Langdon Gilkey, the cultural work of James Cone (The Spirituals and the Blues; Dream or a Nightmare? Malcolm, Martin, and America), and an earlier generation including Henry Nelson Weiman and Paul Tillich all have grappled with extra-theological content in a serious fashion. Yet, again, for the most part, these examples prove the rule that theologians, for the most part, don't honor the pledge to do theology that uses all the tools available to do it well. While it would be nice to be able to defend the intellectual integrity of theology as a practice (not necessarily a discipline in the academy, but that is not its sole, or even most important, function), one cannot read contemporary theology and do so with a straight face.