Christian Practical Wisdom: What It Is, Why It Matters

by Dorothy C. Bass, Kathleen A. Cahalan, and others. Eerdmans Publishing, 2016.
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Do you have a passion for theology, faith formation or congregational studies? You will be inspired by this theological, academic, and experienced case for “practical wisdom.” Practical wisdom is “grounded in ordinary experience, and learned over time in the company of others and for the sake of others” (p. 5). For example, consider how the Eucharist is distributed in your congregation, and the accepted postures for prayer and praise. These “embodied, relational” examples of faithful living are filled with practical wisdom (p. 8). Focusing on Christian practical theology, the five authors are ELCA-Lutheran, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and Roman Catholic. In their writing, the authors model the both/and approach they advocate: practical wisdom in balance with theoretical knowledge. The authors build on an academic foundation with personal stories and congregational experience. The first chapter, “Engaging the Intelligence of Practice,” is key to understanding the thesis and approach.