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Practicing Theology: Beliefs and Practices…
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Practicing Theology: Beliefs and Practices in Christian Life (2002)

by Miroslav Volf (Editor), Dorothy C. Bass (Editor)

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What does theology have to do with the so-called real life? Are theologians doing anything other than splitting hairs? Volf and Bass, along with all the contributors to this volume argue that theology is intimately connected with life. This connection is discerned through the concept of practice.

"In general use, a practice is a dense cluster of ideas and activities that are related to a specific goal and shared by a social group over time. . . . Christian practices are patterns of cooperative human activity in and through which life together takes shape over time in response to and in the light of God known in Jesus Christ" (3).

By engaging in theological reflection on Christian practice, the contributors to this volume—all academic theologians—demonstrate how important theology is for living faithfully in a changing world.

The various essays in this volume reflect on a diverse range of practice including healing, hospitality, theological education, and worship. Tammy Williams is particularly insightful in her essay, “Is There a Doctor in the House? Reflections on the Practice of Healing in African American Churches.” By examining the practice of African American churches, she uncovers three models of healing: care, cure, and holism.

Volf closes the book by arguing that while “Christian beliefs normatively shape Christian practices, and engaging in practices can lead to acceptance and deeper understanding of these beliefs,” beliefs take logical priority.

"Since we identify who God is through beliefs—primarily through the canonical witness to divine self-revelation—adequate beliefs about God cannot be ultimately grounded in a way of life; a way of life must be grounded in adequate beliefs about God" (260).

Practicing Theology functions on two levels. On the ground level, each article has something insightful to say about Christian practice. On a higher level, the book shows that theology is not a withdrawal from the world but a way to engage the life and practices of the Christian community more deeply. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Mar 14, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Volf, MiroslavEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bass, Dorothy C.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802849318, Paperback)

In a time when academic theology often neglects the lived practices of the Christian community, this volume seeks to bring balance to the situation by showing the dynamic link between the task of theology and the practices of the Christian life.

The work of thirteen first-rate theologians from several cultural and Christian perspectives, these informed and informative essays explore the relationship between Christian theology and practice in the daily lives of believers, in the ministry of Christian communities, and as a needed focus within Christian education.

Contributors:

Dorothy C. Bass
Nancy Bedford
Gilbert Bond
Sarah Coakley
Craig Dykstra
Reinhard Hütter
L. Gregory Jones
Serene Jones
Amy Plantinga Pauw
Christine Pohl
Kathryn Tanner
Miroslav Volf
Tammy Williams

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:27 -0400)

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