Metaphor for Practical Theology
In have come to understand the praxis of theology to be like a spider weaving its web each day in the frame of a window. To build out this image, it is important to speak to three distinct elements: the window frame, the spider, and the web itself.
The window frame I conceptualized has four distinct sides, of varying length (depending on the depth and breadth of one's knowledge), representing four distinct truth claims: God exists, the Self-revelation of God in Jesus, I exist, and the Church exists. Within these statements, the Christian lives and practices their faith. Only collectively do these claims give foundation and structure to Christian belief.
The Spider is the living, dynamic, Christian being, created by God and endowed with the means and abilities to spin its own web. The spider did not create itself, nor did it create the knowledge needed to combine enzymes into tensile string. It did not give itself the organic mechanisms to create those enzymes or to facilitate the production. The Spider is the unique culmination of gifts formed by its creator, to be capable of building a web, as a way to glorify its creator.
The web represents the unique experience of the Christian being, as it wanders between these truth claims over the course of its life. The web is distinct to the spider, as are the links created as threads intersect. The web formed is an aggregate of direct and indirect connections to those truth claims. The more connections in the web, the more life-giving the web is. The web is not eternal. The strongest webs are made new each day. If the spider never revisits certain parts of the web, they will disintegrate and be taken by the breeze.
This is what practical theology is, the experiential connection building between the truth claims we hold. The greater the number of connections, the more likely we are to thrive in Christian life. Each web created is informed by the previous ones; each spider is capable of their own unique design.