Teaching and Christian Practices: Reshaping Faith and Learning

By David I. Smith; James K. A. Smith | Go to book overview

Pedagogical Rhythms:
Practices and Reflections on Practice

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung


Some Reflections on Why Practices Are Needed

Imagine that you died today. In the days that follow, your friends and family gather together to mourn you and remember you. Imagine what they would say about you and about your life. There would be things to celebrate, things to regret, things they would miss about you, and no doubt a few things they wouldn’t! If you were to listen in on those imaginary conversations and capture them on paper — in other words, to write an honest testimonial of the person you were and the life you lived — how would that speech read? For the sake of this exercise, an honest word is better than a good word, if you have to choose.

Now imagine a second version of the speech. This time, think of the speech you wish someone could honestly have given at your funeral — including all the good things you wish were true of you, the way the first speech you wrote would have read had you become all that you wanted to be.

Why this imaginative exercise? Funerals are one of the few places we still reflect on and talk about a person’s character — not just one’s achievements or quirks, but the person one was and the stories that best revealed this and the qualities that marked the character of one’s life. It’s also one of the few times we take the time to reflect on our lives as a whole — to set aside the tyranny of the daily and the urgent and to measure our life in terms of “big picture” concerns. A funeral is an occasion to try to view the whole package, to think about how the parts of your character and your

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