The Practise of Practical Theology
Brian Brock is one of the sharpest theological thinkers I have ever met and it great to see him landing at role as Lecturer in Moral and Practical Theology in the University of Aberdeen department of divinity. I really like the way he reflects on the significance of his academic title, “Why moral and practical […]
Brian Brock is one of the sharpest theological thinkers I have ever met and it great to see him landing at role as Lecturer in Moral and Practical Theology in the University of Aberdeen department of divinity. I really like the way he reflects on the significance of his academic title,
“Why moral and practical theology? Because these disciplines are rarely understood the same way by two practitioners, let me explain my approach. (Aberdeen is a rare exception to the problem of practitioners having incommensurate approaches!) The “and” is important as I understand the terms to modify and situate one another. In an English-speaking context practical theology has acquired an orientation toward the hermeneutics of contemporary culture. This orientation serves as a welcome barrier preventing moral theology from remaining at a level of abstraction that makes it appear irrelevant for the moral decisions of daily life. Moral theology provides a service to practical theology in assuming that doctrinal and confessional frameworks make explicit the direct moral implications of hermeneutic claims about contemporary culture. This interest in doctrine and culture is tied together by a third interest in the role scripture plays in God’s work of generating a people with a distinctive ethos. Here my question is how the reading of scripture is influenced by, and influences, our reading of culture.”
Brian had a big impact on the Coffee, Theology and Culture reading group I mentioned a few days ago. Moreover, he provided a really insightful counterpoint to my own thinking on Theology and Culture. He is one of a small number of young academic theologians who give me hope for the future of formal theological discourse.
As a marginally related aside, here is a little thing I wrote back in 2001 called The Dangerous Lie of ‚ÄúPracticality‚Äù (pdf file) and edited after one of the reading groups discussions with Brian.