Saturday, March 05, 2005

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 a unique, independent science, a fundamental one in essence in spite of its reciprocal relationship with other theological disciplines, since its business of scientifically critical and systematic reflection is a unique quantity and its nature is not deducible. For it is reflection oriented towards committal.

The task of practical theology as an original science demands a theological analysis of the particular present situation in which the Church is to carry out the especial self-realization appropriate to it at any given moment.

Practical theology challenges the other theological studies to recognize the task which inheres immanently in them, oriented to the practice of the Church; the second demand it makes is that they should apply themselves to this task.

Anonymous practical theologian, reveal thyself.


Blogger Mitch said...

uhm, ah, ya, me. Ya, it was me.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(cough) pagitt (cough). only one man uses the word self-actualization in this way.

but then again, dough wouldn't be shy about leaving his name... so nevermind.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure who your guy (or gal) is, but that's a nice Good Will Hunting reference nonetheless.


8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry folks prefer to remain anonymous its more fun that way

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was drop dead drunk when I wrote this. Couldn't remember who I was then, and can't remember now.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

clue #1
I am German

clue #2
I "transcended" to God completely in 1984

That should be enough.

If you are still unable to identify me let me know and I will reveal myself.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The commentors who wrote, "Sorry folks prefer to remain anonymous its more fun that way."


"I was drop dead drunk when I wrote this. Couldn't remember who I was then, and can't remember now."

are liar's.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The church is a historical quantity. Without endangering its abiding essence it is true to say that the Church not simply is, but must be continually ‘happening’ anew. This ‘occurrence’ of the Church, however, is not simply its being in the historical form of this essence –unique in each instance – to which the Spirit of the Church calls it through its particular and unique historical situation. Because of its Spirit’s Eschatologically triumphant grace the Church cannot be untrue to the particular ‘occurent’ form of its self-realization to such an extent that it simply ceases being the Church of Christ; but that does not alter the fact that the Church has the task of making a commitment to realize this particular historical form in responsibility and freedom, and can therefore also fall far short of it. Consequently the Church must reflect consciously upon the question how thee Church’s self-actualization is to take place arising out of and in response to its particular given situation in each instance. Practical theology is the scientific organization of this reflection.

6:55 PM  
Blogger RobeFRe said...

Practical theology, by defitnition, must accomplish some study of God which reveals His nature to us and accomplishes the realization of His Presence among us and expands the awareness of God into the frontier of ignorance while allowing the worldly purpose of Religion to hem in the rebellious atheologist or it has lost its practicality.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Fn. Reivner,

What is your point?

7:56 AM  
Blogger RobeFRe said...

reply to whomever that masked one above is.
maybe that is my cue maybe not.

The point being brevity, and agreement with the assumptions that a study of God is practical if the aforementioned[mine(Foucaltian?), amongst selective other's] conditions are met, utilizing whatever method(constructive, systematic, historical, predictive, et al) of theology is effective toward a purposeful(worship, fellowship, discipleship, prayerful, evangelizing, ministering, unifying) revelation of God and engaging(probably included in the immediate above parenthetic aside)movement toward relatinship with God!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I think this definition was created using the Dilbert Mission Statement generator that can be found here.

4:02 PM  
Blogger chuck roan said...

uh.. that sounds is me throwing in the towel. Can anyone say that definition in plain english? Dat dar statement is too dern much for dis banker, but hey.. if it brings you closer to seeing the Glory of the Lord.. I am all for it.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

clue #3

Among other things, I am well known for coining the phrase, "anonymous Christian/ity"

I have now basically spoon-fed you my identity.

9:33 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karl Rahner.

Is there a prize for guessing right?

It seems to me that for all the specialization in the field of theology, the categories eventually meld together. Take Karl Rahner, who is apparently reading weblogs and posting comments from beyond the infinite horizon, for example. He wrote those brilliant words on practical theology (his own theology is "practical" in the sense that it is deeply grounded in the human experience), and his theological works could also be classified as existential, systematic, or fundamental (apologetic).


9:26 AM  
Blogger theoskaris said...

Being a man of simple mind, let me see if I can summarize (and maybe even add to) our anonymous contributor for us common masses. :-)

"Practical theology is the discipline which seeks to call the church to what it should be. It is primarily concerned with helping the church always ask the right questions, thereby helping the church continually reflect on what it is doing so that it can do those things which are core to its being as the expression of God's kingdom here on earth.

"It's goal is to remind the other disciplines (Bible, theology, social sciences, etc.) that they all have a purpose other than pure academic intellectualism. That purpose is to always discover how their respective disciplines speak to the church here and now, and how those disciplines can assist the church in the carrying out of that identity."

This may not help anyone other than me, but there it is.

-- Jim Hampton

9:41 AM  
Blogger RobeFRe said...

I am mostly wondering why anyone would want a thelology that wasn't practical, and here wondering how a human institution (the church)of unknown numbers of individual could ever 'release itself in all its dimensions'however noble that may be without first considering individually and personally the bricks of its structure that person known as the member who has attributes and experiences involved with and at the same time independent to the church. Has God then become a god of groups and not persons?

12:50 PM  
Blogger WTM said...

Has God ever been anything other than a God of groups, and only then a God of persons?


7:22 PM  
Blogger RobeFRe said...

most always by record as read

The Samaritan Woman

All these had personal relationships with God who then sometimes used them to minister to the group.
Since the veil was wrent in two the relationship seems meant to be even more intensely personal again. I would say God of Person then God of Group. The role of group being fluid as to the individual need for relationship with God.
The organized group being unwieldy by size and need for tradition would generally be able to maintain the record of truth over time in better stead than the individual. But I am sure that this is not my blogspot, so I relinquish the floor for the purpose of a heightened personal, individual as well as group, relationship with God.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Read the rest of my wisdom in the following text I penned a long time ago:

Rahner, Karl. "Practical Theology within the Totality of Theological Disciplines." Theological Investigations Vol. 9. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1972. pp.101-114. call# BX1751.2.R313v.9


- "Hot" Karl Rahner

10:46 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops. Sorry about the multtiple postings above. The connection wasn't working and I didn't think it was receiving my post so I clicked back and then post a few times. Sorry. I trust the moderator of this blog will delete all the repeated entries. Sorry...

6:53 PM  

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