Just as I concluded a talk on practical theology, I came across an example of how practical theology is at work through a sharing by an Old Testament expert, Dr. Anthony Loke.
His sharing is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9FlBHmCb8A
To give a Christian response to war, his approach is similar to what I shared in my recent talk. First he sets out the context – in reading the Bible, we come across violence and war so we wonder how we should make sense of those texts? He then leads his listeners through the biblical teaching about war, and presents the different perspectives expressed in the Old and New Testament. After that, an account of various theological thoughts on war by Christians throughout the ages is presented. Finally, he highlights the various difficulties we would face if we try to apply some of these biblical and theological ideas in today’s situation, since we are living in a very different world today. So there you go – a very good example of doing practical theology by a biblical scholar, who studies history, theology, tradition, and the context. I find his sharing helpful. He leaves me with a clear framework which allows me to further my theologizing. To me, his practical theology is very “useful!”
By the way, one of the themes which keeps recurring – though not explicitly in Dr. Loke’s sharing – is the pivotal role of ethics in our theological deliberations. Ethics forms a part of my model for practical theology. One participant who stayed back after the talk actually raised an issue which needs to be resolved through a practical theology which has a clear ethical position. I explained that often, when we face an ethical decision, it is more than just deciding what is right or wrong. The technical terms that describe the situation are “utilitarian or deontological.” Namely, we need to have some ideas which type of ethical system we are applying and whether they are justifiable in that particular situation.
So if you were in my recent talk, do check out Dr. Loke’s sharing to see another case study.