Sometimes we just need a place to talk, even if no one is really listening. Although, to be honest, I really hope someone is listening!
Friday, November 08, 2013
Let's go outside and talk about Jesus!
“What is public theology?” I was asked this question during week seven
of the “Introduction to Public Theology” course. It was one of those moments when you take a
deep breath and wish that there was someone else in the room to answer the
question. Twenty pairs of eyes looked my
way and I couldn’t help but wonder why the question came up in week seven
instead of week two? And where was
my co-leader with the PhD?
For seven years, I had been listening to faculty,
students and staff talk about the seminary’s commitment to public theology, but
for at least six of those years, I wasn’t sure I knew what they were talking
about. It had to be more involvedthandoing theology in
At least that’s what I told the student who asked me the question. It’s talking about God and doing God’s work
in the public forum. It’s being straight
forward about who you are and what you believe, with whomever you encounter in
The next question came. “Well, why is that
important?” I wondered if it was a trick
question until I realized the student was sincere. I took one more deep breath and hoped I would
successfully make my point. Public
theology is important because we aren’t just called to do theology inside
the church. We’re called to go out into
the world and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
I think he wanted a more complex answer or
permission to just deal with the folks inside the building. But I don’t believe that’s how it works. All theology if it is going to be effective has
to go public at some time or another. If
we only talk to each other, we’re only doing half the job.