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Following on from part one of this topic…

In terms of my induction to practical theology, then, as time went by in graduate school, I understood the pastoral theological works I had been reading (whether liturgy, pastoral care and counseling, religious education, spiritual direction, and other theologies of church practice) as attempts at managing faith identity through the production and maintenance of Catholic knowledge and the governance of subjectivity—however “traditional” or “progressive.”

The more I “got” this perspective, the more I intensified my immersion in Foucault studies, due among other things to their rich complexities of debate about cultural practices there. That turn let onto an ongoing overhearing of contemporary continental philosophy in my work. I see philosophies of practice and cultural studies of practice as essential traveling companions for the practical theologian. Since then, my pursuit of the theory and practice of everyday life, my continued activity in “secular” rock music, and my sense for theology as a psychagogic-political activity for the theologian, her students, and further audiences well beyond original imagining, position me to both engage the history and present of practical theology, and to attempt to show its interventionist and illuminative significance with respect to the small stable of questions with which I deal at the “intersection” of theology and culture.

Joining these foci to the diverse concerns internationally for practice in practical theology, and especially the emerging interest in cultural in addition to ecclesial practices for theology, and the slow but (I hope) sure turning to cultural theories and practices in practical theology, has helped me see the power that a practical-theological orientation might have.

(more…)