What Is Practical Theology? Part IV

After an all-to-lengthy excursion into interdisciplinary method, it’s time to get back into the four core tasks of practical theology. Having been through the descriptive and empirical moments, the third moment of PT is the normative moment.It is now, after gathering data and using the best of several disciplines to interpret that data, that the practical theologian makes normative claims for the life of the church. Often, practical theology is in conversation with the other volumes of the “theological encyclopedia”… Read more

A Top Ten List

This Tuesday will mark the last time ever that I will sit in a class as a student (maybe that’s why they call the Ph.D. a “terminal degree”). I’ve read an enormous amount over the past two years, so I thought I’d look back and try to rank which books have been most influential on my thinking. Since I couldn’t narrow it to ten, here’s my shot at the top eleven: 11. Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a… Read more

What Is Practical Theology? An Interdisciplinary Intermezzo, Part III

OK, this is the final part of what was meant to be a brief tangent. But Jimmy brings up an important caveat in his comment below. My not-so-hypothetical situation of a troubled teen in the school counselor’s office was sanitized of the real-life complications of power. Being a trained social worker, and a special ed. teacher, Jimmy knows the power dynamics at work in a situation like this. It should come as no surprise that the pediatrician will come out… Read more

Happy Birthday…

…to me. Read more

Blog News

1) Jeff Kursonis, of this post, is now blogging here. Check it out, and support his new church in NYC however possible.2) I posted here, and it seems to have pissed some people off. Interesting line of comments follow.3) My brother and sister-in-law run a very popular blog regarding women’s basketball. He expresses his ambivalence about Liberty University’s run to the Sweet Sixteen here and then responds to an email from me here. It’s an interesting discussion in light of… Read more

What Is Practical Theology? An Interdisciplinary Intermezzo, Part II

OK, I’ll start with a concrete situation in order to illustrate the promise of “tranversal rationality.”[UPDATE: This is a hypothetical situation; the “boy” is meant to represent a concrete situation or problem. Another analogy could be, for instance, all the people who together had to decide what to build on the site of the World Trade Center.]You’re a youth pastor, and you get a call from the guidance counselor at the local public high school; she wants you to come… Read more

Do Yourself a Favor…

…and order this book! Read more

What Is Practical Theology? An Interdisciplinary Intermezzo

For some important background, first readthisandthisand, especially,this.If you take the time to read these, or at least the third, you’ll see that a lot of water has already passed under the bridge. And over some Chinese food last night, Steve tried to rehabilitate my understanding of Barth, with some success. (I have no trouble acknowledging the extreme importance of Barth, but I think we need to go beyond him, hence my affinity with Moltmann.)There’s a lot at stake in this… Read more

Prayers…

…needed for Stan Grenz, theologian of the emerging church, who is fighting for his life following a massive brain aneurism.[UPDATE: Stan died at about 4am this morning. This is truly a loss for all of us who desire progressive evangelical theology to thrive. Even as we grieve his loss and mourn with his family, we can be thankful that he left behind so much rich theological work. Godspeed, Stan.] Read more

What Is Practical Theology? Wow!

OK, I was all brewing up a great intermezzo post with a provisional definition of PT, then I got this anonymous comment that blew me away: Practical theology is that theological discipline which is concerned with the Church’s self-actualization here and now – both that which is and that which ought to be. That it does by means of theological illumination of the particular situation in which the Church must release itself in all its dimensions. This practical theology is… Read more