I can't begin to count the number of conversations I have had with friends about theory that quickly moved to practice.
"Yeah, but how does that get lived out?"
That question was sure to be asked early and often amongst the women and men that I was discipled by, discipled with, and those that I was fortunate to disciple.
In a community of practitioners, scripture and theology becomes a lively and practical conversation!
The reality is, you and I can be on the same page in terms of language, we can sign our names to the same statements of faith or doctrine or ministry philosophy, but be worlds apart in what those statements actually mean. I have seen it happen time and again. Deep and meaningful conversations lead to (what are seemed to be) real and lasting agreements about God, ministry, and life. Then we live or work together, and we discover that we have very different ideas about just what we meant by what we agreed upon.
A simple example:
"God is good!" Does this mean, "I need to embrace suffering in order to discover what God is trying to accomplish through it," or does it mean, "God would never allow anything hard or painful to happen to me?"
We could easily talk through how this applies in every sphere of theology, scripture, ministry, and life.
Here is the sticky point:
It is precisely this 'fruit' of our theology that God is concerned with addressing. Another way of saying this is, if your theology is good, and your life is bad then your theology is bad!
So the only way to really discover our respective theologies is to engage in lasting intimacy with each other, and to repeatedly ask, "Yeah, but how does that get lived out?"