Practical Theology

I was writing a letter today to someone who was feeling forgotten by God and men. Among other things, I wrote that we were made for Eden, and will never find perfection here. (Has this become the refrain of my days?)

Then I started wondering if God intended us to stay in Eden forever. Did He create Eden with the contingent plans of redemption and healing that would be necessary after the sin and brokenness that would enter the perfection?

These aren’t new questions, and I’m sure there are answers. I’m reading Bonhoeffer right now, and he was a practical theologian, and spent years studying and teaching deep theories and ideas. He was dissatisfied with keeping all of that only as theory, and did his best to flesh out the ideas he believed.

For a fleeting moment today, thinking about Eden, something in me wanted to study and discuss and write and come to a nice, tidy conclusion about God’s purposes and what He had in mind at creation. Good people spend years talking and writing about these kinds of things, and some of that appeals to me.  But not now.

Instead, I felt most fulfilled today, not pondering vast ideas, but teaching and talking with little children. One opened the house door for me but hid under his bed until his mom yelled at him to come for his English lesson. I considered leaving and not getting into a conflict. There’s no point in twisting someone’s arm to learn English. But I gave him a chance, and it turned out to be a delightful 45 min. lesson. He ended up giving me more words than he’d ever done before.

The next class was a brother and sister. She was in a funk and embodied a dark gray storm cloud. It was wonderful to read them a story, meet her eyes now and then, and watch the light gradually seep back into her. I’m learning to relax in children’s classes, and not get all up tight when the lesson doesn’t go as I planned. To go with the current, and if they deviate from my plans, to take that route and make it a teaching opportunity. As one who likes serendipity, this kind of class lets me fly. And they’re not out of control, so I can let them go, which means we played Hangman even if I hadn’t planned to.

I mean,  if, while the sister finishes a project,  the brother writes 13 blanks on the board and asks me to guess his word and it turns out to be christmastree, I’m not going to complain.

Then I treated myself to a fancy coffee (to write the letter mentioned above) and bumped into another student with her 3 yr old who resents his mother talking to anyone except him. But I took him and kissed and tickled his cheeks and made him laugh, and he liked me a little after all.

This is my kind of theology. It’s where I best put my energy. I don’t know what you call it, but it suits me.

2 thoughts on “Practical Theology

  1. Ah-h-h! I love reading of people who are finding fulfillment right where God has them! That is the greatest place to be. Love to you, dear friend!

  2. I love it, Anita!! “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 18:3” Blessings

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