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Practical Theology and Self-Injury

This week I am reading portions of The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology for a reading course that I am taking on practical theology research methods. While reading the introduction to the book today, I came across an interesting way of articulating what exactly it is that practical theologians do. I do consider myself to be a pastoral theologian, which is often thought of being of "under the umbrella" of practical theology.

In this particular chapter, Miller-McLemore explains that "Practical theologians often ask what is hurting or what is not working, and how people should respond" [1]. This is a very succinct way of summing up the way I want to continue approach this self-injury project overall. I believe it has been be approach to date, and it will be wonderful to see other circumstances in which this method has been utilized. Miller-McLemore points to how practical theologians have attended to problems like family, illness, poverty and violence with this method, and how it has worked to "focus our attention, made us develop new concepts, and reshaped our methods" [2].

[1] Miller-McLemore, Bonnie J., and Wiley-Blackwell (Firm). “The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology.” Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Religion. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, 7.

[2] Miller-McLemore, Wiley-Blackwell, 7.

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