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To Understand God Truly by David Kelsey


David Kelsey is Luther A. Weigle Professor of Theology at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. His article is based on his convocation address in 1996 inaugurating a new academic year in which YDS, under the leadership of its new dean, Richard Wood, set out to develop new curriculum and programs recommended by a review committee, which was chaired by Kelsey. To Know God Truly: What's Theological About a Theological School?
was published in 1992 by Westminster /John Knox Press
. This book was prepared for Religion Online by Herb and June Lowe.


6. Borrowed Language


The third of the three central issues that have surfaced in the discussions of the nature and purpose of theological schooling is how to understand theological schooling concretely. This is, of course, a highly relative matter. There is no absolute standard of "concrete" description against which to measure the degree of abstractness of other descriptions. No thinking or language somehow devoid of abstraction is possible or desirable. Concreteness in expression is a matter of degree. Nonetheless, we have reason to believe that in dealing with our subject, it is best to speak as concretely as is possible under the circumstances. My contention is that decisions about the terminology we use in describing theological schooling are decisively important in this regard. In particular, we need to pay attention to a few terms that will be of crucial importance for this thought experiment. The rest of this chapter will be devoted to a closer look at the concepts "pluralism," "understand," "action," and "practice."

Consequently this will be the most technical chapter in the book. Much of what I have to say is borrowed from others who have, to my mind, clarified these notions admirably. It will be an exercise in borrowing language and explaining why it is borrowed. It is quite possible to make sense of the following chapters without working through this one. However, much of the defense of posing the issues as I do is given here. Without this somewhat more abstract and careful discussion, what is argued later on may be reasonably clear but why it is argued may be more obscure.

PLURALISMS AND VARIATlONS

It is already clear that I have made a decision to describe certain features of the heritage and situation that shape a theological school as "pluralistic." That is not an innocent conceptual decision. Why not instead use "various" and speak of "variations"? It is relatively uncontroversial to say descriptively, for example, that theological school students and faculty come from a variety of social and economic backgrounds, or that they may exhibit a variety of ways of concretely practicing the Christian faith. It is a fair question to ask whether we have committed ourselves to more than this descriptive remark if we decide instead to write of socioeconomic "pluralism" and of a "pluralism" of ways of being Christian

Perhaps we have. Much current discussion of cultural, religious, moral, and intellectual pluralism uses the concept "pluralism" in a way that seems to shift from a descriptive use ("such diversity does in fact exist") to an evaluative and even celebratory use ("such diversity is a good thing and should exist"). Indeed, some high-flying, abstract, and vague talk of pluralism seems to assume the validity of a thorough relativism about these diversities ("each variation - culturally, religiously, morally, or intellectually -- is as good and true as any of the others"). Does the very use of the concept "pluralism" smuggle an evaluative judgment into what presents itself as a descriptive account of factors that make a theological school concrete? Moreover, does the use of "pluralism" involve the unargued assumption that any construal of the Christian thing, and concrete practice of the faith, and so forth, is as good as any other? If so, that is a serious danger that needs to be guarded against when we use "pluralism" in relation to a theological school. Such judgments might be valid, but they need to be argued and not simply assumed. They ought not to be settled before they are argued simply by the choice we make of the terms we will use.

On the other hand, it seems that use of "variety" has even greater drawbacks. To speak of a variety of construals of Christianity or of social and economic locations is to suggest a set of variations on a theme. To speak in that way of factors that make a given theological school concrete is to speak very misleadingly. It suggests that in regard to each "diversity" we can identify some one thing, the "theme," that all the variants share and which is normative for all of them. It suggests that the respects in which they differ, that is, whatever makes them "variations," are relatively less important than the one thing they share (the "theme") -- unless they so distort the theme as to make it unrecognizable, in which case the diversity is a decline and deformation. It suggests that the one thing they all share may be entirely abstract. No actual variant may ever be identical with the theme; the theme may be a wholly ideal entity abstracted from the array of variants.

But nothing is more concrete than the differences among the racial, gender, and socioeconomic locations of persons involved in theological schooling, nor more concrete than the differences among the practices through which persons have sought to understand God, nor more concrete than the differences between the ways in which models of excellent schooling have been institutionalized. These are the sorts of differences that help make theological schools concrete. It cannot be assumed at the outset that any one construal (of the Christian thing, social location, way of understanding God, model of excellent schooling, etc.) is the one Christianly correct version. Nor is it self-evident that any of these sets of differences amounts to a set of variations on a single abstract theme. The relations among them may be far more complex and unsystematic, more like overlapping resemblances among members of an extended family than like minor modifications of one common and underlying genetic structure in identical twins. Even less is it to be assumed that we are capable of identifying such a theme that could be used normatively to identify which "variants" are closer and which further from what is Christianly acceptable in a theological school. The very possibility of identifying such a theme would need to be demonstrated.

For these reasons I have chosen to speak of the "pluralism of pluralisms" rather than the "variations" with which every theological school must deal. To speak of issues raised for theological schools by this or that type of "variety" risks diverting analysis and critique away from the concreteness of theological schooling into a hunt for abstract thematic essences and ideal structures. To speak instead of this or that "pluralism" raising issues for theological schooling at least has the advantage of tending in current usage to keep the focus of analysis and critique on what is concretely actual.

PRACTICES AND ACTIONS

We shall be speaking of a focus in a theological school on questions about "particular Christian congregations" as a means to understanding God Christianly. The common life of Christian congregations consists of a multitude of kinds of common activities: worship, preaching and listening to sermons, education, mutual pastoral caring, counseling, action for the well-being of the larger society, and the like. Craig Dykstra has shown that it is illuminating to analyze the educational activities in a congregation by using a technical sense of the concept "practice."[1] More broadly, in Art in Action Nicholas Wolterstorff has relied on the concept "practice" for an illuminating analysis of art and its place in Christians' common life. [2] I propose to generalize the point. I shall suggest that we think of congregations and of theological schools as comprised of complex networks of interrelated practices.

Here "practice" will be used in a somewhat narrower way than it usually is in ordinary English. Following, albeit at considerable distance, philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre's analysis of "practice"in After Virtue [3] I will mean this by "practice":

A practice is any form of socially established cooperative human activity that is complex and internally coherent, is subject to standards of excellence that partly define it, and is done to some end but does not necessarily have a product.

Note several features of this description of"practice."

Practices are human activities: "activities" is used in a limited, technical way here and one needs to be careful about what one reads into it and infers from it. Activities are comprised of human acts or actions. Act and action are not simply identical with "behavior"; some behavior is not action.

Roughly, the distinguishing mark of action is that it is "intentional," it is "done on purpose," it has an end or motive. [4] Some behavior is intentional action. But some behavior is nonintentional. A standard illustration is the case of a man who repeatedly moves an arm in a sweeping gesture. We ask, "Why are you doing that?" If it is possible to give an intention as answer (call it a purpose, or a reason, or a motive), as in "I want to hail a cab," he is performing an act. But if all there is to be given is a causal explanation, for example, "I suffer a rare but medically understood muscular spasm," it is still clearly a piece of human behavior but it is not, properly speaking, an "act."

Actions are not as such "practices"; practices are cooperative human activities. That brings out two interrelated features of practices. They are social, they are done by two or more persons acting together in an interactive, social way. Secondly, they are governed by rule-like regularities. One learns how to engage in a practice by learning its implicit rules. One's enactment of a practice can be (and usually will be) subject to evaluation and, if necessary, correction by reference to its implicit "rules." Mostly the rules that seem to govern practices are implicit in them and have never been codified. Often people who are most adept at a practice are quite incapable of formulating even its most basic rules, although some of them may be skilled at coaching less adept people on how to "do it better" in an ad hoc way.

Note further that central to the concept of action is stress on its bodiliness. For that reason the possibility of answering the question, "Why are you doing that?" by identifying an intention is not inconsistent with also answering the question by identifying a cause. Indeed, it may well be that this question asked of genuine actions always requires both sorts of answers. Intentions, in any case, are not causes and it is a profound conceptual confusion to treat them as though they were. Sometimes, to be sure, the question "Why are you doing that?" cannot be answered by identifying an intention because there is none; all that can be provided is a cause. In that case, what is in question is a piece of behavior, but it is not an act.

Of course, sometimes (much of the time?) we do not know what to say when we are asked why we have done something. That may be because we do not understand the relevant causal "mechanisms." Or it may be because we are in varying degrees unclear about our intentions. In order to have a purpose or an intention, and engage in intentional action, it is not necessary always to be self-awarely clear about all of them. Indeed, we may be quite unconscious of some of our intentions. We may have unconscious purposes and motives. Furthermore, there may be causes (and not simply further motives) for these intentions having become unconscious, and psychoanalytic theory may have identified some of those causes. Clarity in self-awareness is a matter of degree, however, and in principle the degree of clarity is capable of being increased. We can hope to come to greater clarity and greater ability to say what the intention or (more unusually) complex of intentions are in our acts. One of the functions of psychotherapy is to assist that growth in clarity Not all pieces of bodily behavior are acts; nor are all acts pieces of overt bodily behavior. We engage in "mental acts." They are private in that they are unobservable. We read silently, think unspeakingly, imagine unexpressively, daydream impassively. It is not simply that a body somehow houses these mental happenings. Nor does the body merely provide them necessary physiological conditions. Beyond that, it is probably the case that our bodies are as deeply engaged in our mental happenings, including mental acts, as they are in our overt behavior. In the one case as in the other "acting" involves bodily changes. We probably imagine, think, and read silently with our bodies quite as much as we walk, speak, and make things with our bodies. None of this is done without the body. It is organic, bodily persons who read, think, imagine, dream, and hallucinate. Some of such behaviors we do intentionally and we may call them "mental acts." Some of them, however, like night and day dreams and hallucinations, happen to us. Like muscular spasms, they are caused but not intended.

Now, most if not all mental acts are capable of being overtly performed bodily. Using our bodies, we can say aloud what we are reading, thinking, imagining, and daydreaming silently. Sometimes we can also enact them bodily. We may, in the broadest sense, "act out." When we do, we are performing these intentional acts bodily. Private mental acts and public bodily acts are the same type of thing: intentional acts. It is the same concept "act" we employ in both cases. Consequently it is profoundly misleading to say of the overt public act that it is an "outer manifestation" or "expression" of an inner mental act. That wrongly suggests that the two are quite different sorts of realities, that the inner mental act is logically independent of; prior to, and -- most important of all -- the cause of the "meaning" of the outer act. Rather, in these cases the overt bodily intentional action is an observable performance of an unobservable embodied mental act. They are two modes of enactment of the same type of intentional action.

These are some features of the concept "act" or "action" that are used in our description of practices. If we choose to discuss both theological schools and Christian congregations in terms of practices, this concept of act will have important consequences. It will focus attention on the concrete bodily character of those who engage in the practices in question, subverting all tendencies to draw a systematic distinction between "physical" or "natural" or "material" practices, on one side, and "spiritual" or "intellectual" practices on the other. Furthermore, by holding "inner" intention and "outer" behavior together in a single dialectical whole, and by denying any difference in kind between mental and overt acts as acts, indeed, as bodily acts, it will subvert all tendencies to draw any systematic distinction between "interior spiritual life" and "engagement in the public realm."

A second notable feature of our description of practices: Because they are socially established, practices have a history. Indeed, they can be seen as traditions of human action, in distinction, although not separation, from traditions of thought. Practices are not spontaneously invented in the moment as improvisations to deal with passing and novel problems. They are instead already established, relatively settled and accepted over a period of time as social conventions. By the same token, however, they are deeply rooted in larger cultural settings that shape them. As those cultures undergo historical change, so do practices. To stress that practices have a history is to stress that they are historically and culturally relative.

Because, third, they are cooperative and complex, practices are necessarily institutionalized to some degree. By "social institution" I mean an established and relatively fixed arrangement of social status, roles, and various sorts of power among a group of people engaged in some sort of common activity. The complexity, formality, rationality, and rigidity of these arrangements are a matter of degree and vary enormously from practice to practice. However, among persons engaged in complex cooperative activities some degree of institutionalization is inherent in their practice. These persons will have different roles to play in their cooperative activity, different responsibilities, different authority, different power, and different status.

Thus "practices" and "institutions" ought not to be contrasted to each other; they entail each other. This contributes to the complexity of the practice. Some of a set of practices will be those of maintaining, monitoring, and, if needed, modifying the institutional arrangements of the rest of the practices.

This need for practices to maintain the institutionalization of other practices creates one of the possibilities for practices becoming deformed. A practice, we said, is done to an end. But the more formal and complex its institutional patterns are, the stronger will be the tendency for their maintenance to become an end in its own right. That end may then compete with and tend to supplant the practices' proper end. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of that highly formal, highly rigid, allegedly highly rationalized form of institutionalization known as "bureaucracy," which so notoriously deforms many of the practices it organizes.

Because, fourth, practices are forms of cooperative human activity and are institutionalized, they inescapably have a "material" base. As forms of human action, practices are forms of bodily action. whatever else they are, the human beings who act are living bodies whose continued action requires the care and feeding of those bodies. Furthermore, as institutionalized cooperative activity, practices involve various kinds of tools and instruments and all manner of material media of communication among the cooperators. It would be a mistake to look at this material base of practices as merely a "precondition" for practices but not really "part" of any practice. The two are not logically distinct. One can see this by noting the impossibility of defining any given practice without including in the definition either reference to bodily action or reference to physical media of communication among practitioners and the physical tools they employ in the practice. This is an important point to stress because it underscores that practices have concrete social and cultural locations in their larger host societies. Access to the sorts of material base that different practices require is determined by the ways those host societies arrange social, economic, and political power. Consequently, practices will tend to have some interest in preserving social arrangements that give them access to the resources they need and some interest in resisting changes in those societal arrangements that might limit their access to the resources they need. This obviously creates another possibility for practices becoming deformed: inherent within them is the possibility of their coming to fill an ideological role.

Because, fifth, they are ordered to ends and are partly defined by certain standards of excellence, practices inherently require self-critical reflection. Self-critical reflection is not a separate practice in its own right; it is an integral part of a practice. Like the whole of the practice, self-critical reflection itself must be a cooperative activity.

As critical reflection, it finds its criteria partly in the end to which the practice is ordered (As currently practiced, does this practice realize its end? If not, what is amiss?) and partly in the standards of excellence that partially define the practice (How excellently do these particular cooperators engage in this practice, and if not very excellently, are they really engaged in the practice they say they're engaged in, or are they doing something else? How excellently did the Somoza government govern Nicaragua; and if not very excellently, was it perhaps not really engaged in the practice of "government" at all, but rather in the practice of commerce and trade, treating the nation as a single privately owned corporation for the personal profit of the Somoza family and its associates?). Beyond that, however, critical reflection must raise questions about the practice itself: why become involved in it at all? Insofar as engagement in this practice brings with it commitent to certain claims about reality, are they true?

As reflection, critical reflection is not logically prior to practice. It presupposes that the practice is already going on, a practice that already is and has been critically self-reflective. So reflection doesn't simply follow practice either. It asks, "what is this practice? In what ways does it shape the actions and the personhood of the people engaged in it? How has it changed through history?" or even, "what would the characteristics be of a practice in some ways analogous to this one but radically different from it in other regards?" -- reflections that imagine utopias, lead to radical reformations and to revolutions. Thus critical reflection does not involve a movement from detached theory to practical application. Rather, it involves a circular movement from practice to critical reflection and back to corrected practice, or to radically transformed practice.

To summarize: As socially established cooperative activities, practices are historically and culturally relative, to some degree institutionalized, materially based, and inherently critically self-reflective.

Clearly, in order to engage with others in a practice requires that one have a certain range of abilities and capacities that the practice may call for. What is in question here are not skills and techniques but "conceptual" capacities. These conceptual capacities are deepened by disciplined participation in the relevant practice. Some involve far more shaping of one's personal identity than do others. This will vary a great deal from practice to practice. Consider the differences between the abilities and capacities called for respectively by the game of football and by farming, by creating and maintaining human communities and by painting, by physics and by the worship of God.

TO UNDERSTAND

We will be speaking of "understanding God," indeed, of trying to understand God indirectly by way of "understanding other matters within the horizon of questions about particular Christian congregations." We noted in chapter 2 that in Christian history there have been several different notions of how to go about understanding God:through contemplation, discursive reasoning, the affections, or action. But we did not reflect on what it is "to understand" in any of these ways. what is it to "understand"? This is the final somewhat technical concept we must examine with care.

To understand" is no one thing. That is obvious in a broad and vague way when we consider some of the various ways in which we speak of trying (and often failing) to understand: We speak of hoping to understand the instruction manual that accompanies a new word processor and of trying to understand a novel like James Joyce's Ulysses; though both are printed texts, what it is to understand one is quite different from what it is to understand the other. Neither is quite what we are after when we try to understand some particular human person. That, in turn, is still different from what we mean when we say we have failed to understand one of Beethoven's last string quartets. And then there are those who say they would like to understand the meaning of life.

Furthermore, what it is to understand any one of these may vary depending on who is trying to understand and what the context is. It is one kind of thing to understand a person when she is my wife in the context of our life together, another to understand her when she is a potential buyer and I an advertiser in the context of contemporary American consumerist culture, still another when she is a client and I a psychiatrist in a psychotherapeutic context, even though these various senses of "to understand" overlap in various ways.

Surely these various senses of "to understand" have something in common? If not, then we are using the expression in wildly equivocating ways. There is one thing all these uses of "to understand" do have in common. It can be generalized like this: "To understand" something in some context is to have some abilities in relation to that "something." Charles Wood puts the point well: To understand a map is ordinarily to be able to find one's way around by it. To understand an order is to be able to obey it if conditions permit, or to know what obeying it would involve. To understand algebra is to be able to perform and apply various mathematical operations in appropriate circumstances, and to know when and why a particular operation is right or wrong....One who understands a text will be able to make use of the text in ways that demonstrate -- and in some sense even constitute - understanding. [5]"

A more complete account of each of these "understandings" could be given in terms of specific abilities and capacities. The abilities differ from one another a great deal. Note that while it is important to relate "understand" to "be able to use," to relate "understand x" to "have certain abilities in relation to x," it is just as important to stress that "to understand" is not identical with "to agree" (e.g., with a text) or "to obey" (e.g., a command) or "to follow" (e.g., a map). Among the abilities that in some sense constitute understanding are abilities to assess critically, to entertain what is understood in an "as if"or imaginative mode, and mindfully and deliberately to disregard that which is understood. There is no one core of which all these abilities are merely variations. To understand is no one thing.

There are three further points to be made about "understanding" as sets of abilities. The first is that, within limits, we may grow tn understanding. There are degrees of understanding because abilities admit of degree. To grow in understanding something is to grow in a set of abilities in relation to what is being understood. The growth comes through our engagement over a period of time in certain relevant practices. It was implicit in our discussion in the previous section that practices are patterns of activity that are governed by rule-like regularities: thus the judiciary, the making of western music on the piano, and batting a baseball are all rule-governed activities and hence are practices. Practices usually involve criticism, that is, rules according to which our activity has to be corrected in certain respects from time to time.

The traditional name for what grows through these practices is habitus. A habitus is a settled disposition to act in a characteristic way. Sometimes it is a disposition to engage in a certain practice. Habitus is thus rather like what in English is called a habit, but with major qualifications. where many habits dispose us to act automatically in mechanical and rigid ways, habitus dispose us to act in a certain characteristic way (say, prudently) but to do so intentionally (as opposed to automatically), thoughtfully (as opposed to instinctively), self-critically (as opposed to mechanically), and inventively (as opposed to rigidly) in light of the actual circumstances of the action. Here we are considering specifically cognitive habitus, dispositions to act in regard to something in ways that comprise understanding it. In short, growth in understanding comes through some kind of discipline that leads to acquiring capacities to act according to relevant rules.

One distinction among these various sorts of growth is important for our purposes. Growth in some sorts of abilities shape who we are far more deeply than does growth in other sorts of abilities. Growth in our abilities to trust, for example, or to take risks, abilities that are integral to understanding "faithfulness," shapes us very deeply, whereas growth in our ability to manipulate checker pieces according to the rules of the game of checkers and to design strategies as we play, abilities integral to understanding checkers, scarcely shapes us at all. Coming to understand certain things is existentially significant in ways in which coming to understand other things simply isn't.

Understanding, secondly, is guided by our interests. We can bring this out by reflecting on the question, "Just which abilities constitute 'understanding,' say, this map, and why?" As Charles Wood points out, "The cab driver and the cartographer may have somewhat different understandings of the same map." [6] That is, they may have somewhat different sets of abilities in relation to the map. The differences between their sets of abilities are dictated by the different objectives they have. The cab driver wants to find a particular address; the cartographer wants to assess the reliability and complexity of the map. And their differing objectives are rooted in different interests: The cab driver is interested in getting around the city; the cartographer is interested in the art and science of mapping urban areas. The differences in their "understandings" of the map are rooted in different interests.

We recognize this point informally all the time in everyday life. To understand other persons will require different sets of abilities depending on whether our objective is to be their friends, sell them something they don't really need, or command them in the heat of battle. To be sure, these sets of abilities may well overlap in various unsystematic ways. Nonetheless, they will be different. What it is "to understand" other persons will vary depending on our objectives and interests. Similarly, a person whose objective is to acquire a sense for a particular historical period and a person whose objective is to savor a skilled writer's use of the mother tongue will have to bring somewhat different sets of abilities to a historical novel; they will have different understandings of the same novel.

These interests, or, to speak more concretely, the people who have these interests, are always "located" culturally, socially, economically, and politically. This is the third point to be made about "understanding" as sets of abilities relative to what is to be understood. Because these abilities are guided by interests and the interests are located in some society and its cultures, understanding is always "situated."

That has two important distinguishable but interrelated consequences. One is that the abilities that comprise "understanding" are in varying degrees culturally formed. To understand is always to understand in some cultural context, in terms provided by the culture's conventional practices and traditions. The other is that to be located in a society is, concretely, to be situated at some point in the distribution of power and status within that society. To the extent that social,

economic, and political power is inequitably distributed and to the extent that this inequality generates tension or conflict within the culture, the interests that guide understanding may be shaped by one's location in these tensions -- shaped either as an interest to right the inequality (perhaps because one is oppressed by it) or as an interest to preserve it (perhaps because one benefits from it).

Now, both consequences of the fact that interests are "situated" can lead to distortion and bias in understanding. The term "ideology" is sometimes loosely used to refer to distortion and bias rooted in both of these consequences of the situatedness of our interests. However, "ideology" properly connotes unself-conscious bias that functions to deny or obscure inequalities from which some people benefit and by which others are oppressed. Hence "ideology" is probably best reserved for that distortion and bias in understanding whose guiding interests are located, not simply in some culture, nor simply on one side or the other of an intrasocietal conflict, but quite particularly on the privileged side of such a conflict. However that may be, it follows that the abilities that comprise what it is "to understand" must include critical and self-critical abilities to detect and correct ideological and other distortions.

There are, to be sure, other ways to explicate what it is to understand something. It is possible, indeed common, in contemporary theology to assume that the concept "to understand" must be explained in terms of a philosophical analysis of the structure and dynamics of human consciousness or subjectivity which the philosophical analysis shows to be identical among all human persons. Explained that way, understanding is taken to be some one phenomenon which is the presence to consciousness of something called the meaning of that which is understood. On this explanation, understanding is, as Wood puts it, a phenomenon "experienced, as it were, in the privacy of one's mind, apart from any practical entanglements or consequences."[7] when this sort of analysis of the concept "to understand" is used in relation to theological schooling it does tend to yield an "essentialist" picture: It suggests that to understand God or anything else is some one phenomenon and that what is understood is some one meaning. It tends to yield an individualistic picture of theological schooling; it suggests that to understand God is a phenomenon experienced "in the privacy" of students' and teachers' individual minds. And it tends to yield a picture of theological schooling in which the life of faith is disengaged from the public realm. It suggests that to understand God or anything else is a phenomenon in consciousness "apart from any practical entanglements or consequences."

By contrast, "to understand" (God or anything else) has been analyzed here in a way that excludes "essentialist" implications by insisting that to understand is itself not some one thing, but rather an indefinitely large number of capacities and abilities. Furthermore, the analysis does not push toward an essentialist picture of the subject matter that is understood, because it does not require us even to mention anything called "the [essential] meaning" that must be grasped in any successful effort to understand a subject matter. So too, by tying understanding to capacities and abilities for engaging in practices that are inherently social, our analysis of "to understand" avoids individualistic implications. And precisely by tying understanding to dispositions to act, our analysis avoids disengaging the effort to understand from the public realm.

We have been sharpening a few tools. With this preparatory clarification of the concepts "pluralism," "practice," "action," and "understanding" in hand, we may now proceed to refine our proposal. These concepts are central to the proposal. In ordinary usage they are remarkably vague notions and quickly create confusion. If we take care to use them only in ways guided by the analysis we have given them here, we may be able to make our proposal both more clear and more persuasive.

Notes

[1] Craig Dykstra, "Reconceiving Practice," in Shifting Boundaries: Contextual Approaches to the Structure of Theological Education, ed. Barbara G.Wheeler and Edward Farley (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991), pp. 35-36.

[2] Nicholas Wolterstorff, Art in Action (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980). See esp. pp. 1-19, 65-91.

3] Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), pp. 175-283.

[4] Of the extensive literature in philosophical psychology dealing with the concepts "action" and "act," cf. esp. G.E. M. Anscombe, Intention (Oxford:Blackwells, 1957); Anthony Kenny, Action, Emotion, and Will (London:Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963); A. I. Meiden, Free Action (London:Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961); R. S. Peters, The Concept of Motivation, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge&Kegan Paul, 1963).

[5] Charles Wood, The Formation of Christian Understanding (Philadelphia:

Westminster Press, 1981), pp. 16-17.

[6] Ibid.,p.19

[7] Ibid.,p.17.

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