A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals

A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals

A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals

A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals

Excerpt

This book is for anyone who has ever asked, In what way do religious communities make sense? I use the word sense intentionally, as something of a substitute for the word reason. Therefore, the question would be, In what way do religious communities exhibit reason or, more specifically, practical reason? To push that question too quickly would be, I fear, a bit daunting. For the moment, I will stay with the more general question.

Who would ask such a question? It probably would be people on the boundary—the boundary between religious and secular life, between tradition and modernity, and between faith and reason (Tillich 1966). This includes many people in modern Western societies—maybe most of us. Some individuals, of course, feel so secure in their religious traditions that they do not consciously ask such questions. Others are so alienated from religious traditions that they cannot imagine how such traditions can make sense. Most of us stand on the boundary: religious communities attract us; we may even participate in them; but we also wonder if they make sense.

I sometimes imagine myself speaking to young people between college and graduate school. They stand on this boundary, generally familiar with some form of religion, full of the secular world, both trusting yet skeptical of tradition. To them and myself I offer an answer to the question, Why should we trust the wisdom and sense of these communities? Why, given these communities' fallibilities and ambiguities, their shortsightedness and weakness, their increasing distance from centers of power, and their intellectual unsteadiness, should late twentieth-century individuals with good educations, concerns for the future of the human race, and a bit of excess energy use this energy to support religious communities such as churches and synagogues?

I ask those who have answered these questions both positively and negatively not to close their minds permanently. They should . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.