Monday, July 21, 2008

What Theology Should Do

For folks interested in Christian education, or wondering how is it that people come to faith in Christ, there's an good interview with David Cummingham about the role that rhetoric and dialog play in the molding of one's beliefs.

A couple of quotes:
"When I think of how we define a rhetorical approach I turn to the idea of persuasion. What we are trying to do is to draw people into a conversation, a sustained conversation about our beliefs and convictions, and to encourage them to adopt those beliefs and convictions as their own. Of course, this goes both ways; our interlocutors are trying to persuade us as well. So we are talking about a dialogical process that is intentional: as Christians we have something that we think is important and thus it is worth explaining to others."

"The ancients recognized that people had to be willing to be engaged. Remember Socrates—when someone suggested that they could get him to do what they wanted by force, he said, 'Why don’t you try to convince me instead?'"

"Good theology, like all good rhetoric, should teach, delight, and move its audience."
The rest of the interview, "On a Rhetorical Approach to Teaching Theology in the Classroom & Congregation,” is on the Lilly Foundation site, Resources for American Christianity.

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