29 October 2015

when loving Jesus is not enough

An excerpt from The Adolescent Journey: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Practical Youth Ministry by Amy E. Jacober

"Most of my years as a student were spent being told, then reminded, then encouraged to ponder that God loved me and Jesus died for me. Discipleship and doctrines beyond salvation were mentioned but were not the focus. Spiritual formation and my responsibility toward this world and other people as a Christian were clearly not priorities. 
College didn't move me any closer to knowing the bigger picture of what it meant to be a Christian. I faltered around and did the best I could talking about Jesus while folding clothes at the Gap or praying with someone who just got dumped at an after-hours dance party.while I am sure my experience wasn't the case for everyone, I do not think it was as unique as I wish it was. 
Then I went to seminary, where I realized that while I could find Scriptures with a concordance, I lacked context or doctrinal understanding and the ability to think Christianly. I was embarrassed more often than not, but I finally decided it was better to be embarrassed and ask lots of questions than to keep playing the good Christian hoping I wouldn't get caught for how little I knew." (Chapter 1)

Practical theology is the intersection between human experience and theological reflection. We need to be practical theologians. We need to recognize that joining God in God's work of reconciliation in the world means living in that intersection. We need to acknowledge that "just love Jesus" is not enough.