>Public theology

>Public theology is a funny expression suggesting that there is a choice between private and public theologies, or rather between bad theology (theology that remains private is not Christian theology) and good theology.

Public theology is what is happening when Archbishops etc make their reflections public and relevant. How difficult it is though – and that was illustrated at a meeting of clergy today. A neighbouring clergybod said how she felt she didn’t know enough to comment on various bits of church news when people ask her – in so saying, she was doing a bit of public theology by making her concerns public. She was jumped on by someone with the “right” answer. (Heaven preserve us from those who’ve got the last word!) I reckon theology to be a process to be undertaken publicly as the church through collaboration. Theologies develop through interaction with others and through prayer – never the finished article because there is always an OTHER to be heard from somewhere.

It is very difficult being Christian in public and doing theology in public. There are always those ready to twist what is said and done – whether it is my friend Jane, Rowan or Jesus – and the public aren’t always very interested in finding out what we really meant. Jesus did not try “that’s not what I meant”. He just suffered the consequences of public theology.

And this isn’t public theology – I don’t think – but it’s Spike Milligan.


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