Posts Tagged ‘practice’

Breathing Lessons: Coming up for Air in Seminary

Monday, October 25th, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

If you locate yourself in theological education, either behind or in front of the desk, as teacher, administrator, or student, where do you go to breathe? Where do catch a break from what you do all day? Well, if you are like me, you go outside. I am stuck inside most of the time, either at my desk, teaching online classes, creating new courses, researching, writing, or responding to email. If I get out of my office, my way often leads into the classroom. When I really need to get away from it all I go outside. Fortunately, I work on a gorgeous campus, and going outside is never a real challenge. It is a routine I like to protect. But something interesting happened today, as I returned from my breathing lessons. I met one of our students and as we talked about our day, he remarked that he came inside to catch some breath. The building offered a refreshing break from the demands of physical labor that characterized most of his day. He then stopped for a moment and concluded, “I guess most people go outside to get away from the inside.” He got me there! As I walked away from the conversation I thought about the alternatives. Am I just getting away from my desk? Or is my situation typical for theological environments? Are our environments conducive to theological training? 

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Who Cares about Theology?

Monday, April 12th, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

Do you care about theology? Chances are you will say, “it depends.” What your care depends on is not so much whose theology it is, or what it is about, but whether you actually understand it. We care about the things we understand. All to often, we do not care about theology because we do not understand it.

When theology becomes disconnected from our language, our context, our culture, or our experiences, we have difficulties understanding it. We find it difficult to integrate theology into our lives. It seems to be disconnected from reality. The reason for for this dilemma is the way theology is carried out in today’s world. Theology is the prime example of the failure of modernity. Theology has put itself in prison.

Here are the top 5 problems:

  1. Isolated Publics: Theology is carried out in the segregated worlds of the academy, the church, and the public life.
  2. Divided Disciplines: Theology fails to transcend the isolation of biblical, historical, and systematic theological disciplines.
  3. Semantic Segregation: Theology fails to identify itself beyond the confines of science and ethics as a transformative pursuit of the whole person.
  4. Lost Liturgy: Theology cannot integrate thinking, doing, and being into a coherent account of everyday living.
  5. Dead Desires: Theology has lost its passion and desire in the constant battle between the formulations of doctrine and the demands of a relevant praxis.

Don’t get me wrong: we do care about theology. We just do not know how to share our care with one another. What do you think about the fact that academic theologians write books no one reads in the church, the church cares more about its own survival than about the world, and the world cannot find a dialogue partner in the church and academy? How can we bring the academy, the church, and the public life back together? How can we start caring … again … about theology?