Per Crucem ad Lucem‘s latest post “What is Practical Theology?” leaves me to wonder whether distinguishing certain theology as practical and other as not, is at all helpful. My suspicion is that it is not. Of course, this certainly depends on what one means by “practical” and what one understands theology to name.
David Lyall’s definition or description of practical theology is as follows:
‘So what is practical theology? … It is concerned with practice and it is an academic discipline; it seeks to serve both the mission of the Church and the needs of the world; it touches that which is most personal and engages with that which is most public. Perhaps the truth of the matter is that practical theology cannot be defined too precisely – nor should we try to do so’. – David Lyall, ‘Editorial: So, What Is Practical Theology?’ Practical Theology 2, no. 2 (2009), 158–9.
My question is why this is allotted to practical theology? Doesn’t theology always name practice and discipline? (sidenote: why is academic discipline not seen as a practice?) Theology is always practical because theology names a way of thinking and being in which the body and mind are inseparable. “Practical theology” therefore appears to me to be a pseudo category. These are my suspicions.
Of course, I’m up for dialogue. That IS the purpose of this blog.
What do others think?