Exercise: What do Christian theology and basketball have in common? With a partner, list as many shared qualities as you can.
I. What Is Theology? Stan Grenz: "systematic reflection on, and articulation of, the fundamental beliefs we share as followers of Jesus Christ."
(What connotations does this definition bring to mind?)
II. What Are Other Fields? Music: "the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity."
Kinesiology: "the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement."
Medicine: "the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease."
Basketball: "a usually indoor court game between two teams of usually five players each, who score by tossing an inflated ball through a raised goal."
(Now what connotations come to mind?)
Are these best articulated in definitions, or otherwise?
Of what relevance are shared practices, social roles, paradigms, authorities, commitments, acquired skills, technical terms, historical developments, challengers, truths, rival stances, and expertise?
Polanyi: Traditions all have common features such as these.
So we show them, train in them, participate in them, advance them ...
live them, and live through them.
Each tradition is distinct,
but all have a common practical and epistemological structure
suited to our human faculties and purposes.
(Thus the fields of a liberal arts college, including theology.)
Ludwig Wittgenstein: "Would it be correct to say our concepts reflect our life? They stand in the middle of it" (Remarks on Colour, 302).
III. Theology of, by, and for Christian Faith Christian tradition is not just abstracted definitions and analyses,
but a life involving distinct practices, goals, participants, commitments, resources, and expertise (see "What Do You Do, Anyway?")
pertaining uniquely to its context, the Kingdom of God.