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ALL THE BUSINESS OF LIFE - BY ROBERT BANKS

1987 - albatross books pty ltd

An Intellectual Pilgrimage

This book presents many issues in everyday life faced by Christians and
proposes what is considered as worthy Christian practical living. The author
observed that the Christian laity has focused too much on doing but not
enough on thinking since theology is very much avoided by laity. It is also
felt that Christian preaching and teaching have failed to connect us to real-life
situations and dilemmas.

The Credibility Gap

What is needed is a theology of everyday life, a value system to live by.
Hence, a Christian needs to think through his faith/theology and organise his
own conclusions which can stand up to public scrutiny. The theology must
come from the wisdom distilled through quiet & disciplined reflection on the
word of God.

The Christian should also be aware of the emergence of secular/political
theology, personal/social ethics, lay & liberation theology which are not very
balanced on their own. Hence, the author recommended pastoral/applied
theology as a holistic response to everyday issues.

The author highlighted ten theses to explain the current gap between our
Christian belief and our daily life:

1. few apply or know how to apply Christian belief to our workplace
2. there is minimal connections between faith & spare time activities
3. there is little sense of Christian approach to routine/monotonous activities
4. our everyday attitudes are shaped by dominant values of our society
5. our current spiritual difficulty is stemmed from daily pressures
6. our everyday concerns receive little attention in church
7. our theological institutions do little to address life issues
8. our everyday issues are tackled too theoretically
9. only minority of Christians are interested in Christian books/theological
courses
10. churchgoers failed to admit that there is gap between belief and life and
ordinary Christian fears the cost of integrating belief with life.
The Texture Of Daily Life

general social pressures -
busyness - poor in term of disposal time for other things besides work
mobility - nomadic hence tend not to be involved in community
debt - spending more than earn - loss of freedom for Christian work
conformity - too much choices
security - the haves want more of it but the poor can't afford
regulation - lost control to manage our own affairs

Routine Aspects Of Life

commuting - car vs. public transport cost vs. convenience
shopping - manipulative ads, quasi-religious appeal of shopping mall
sleeping - lack of sleep/dream due to little faith that God can take care of us
eating/drinking - family togetheness, hospitality, religious purpose corrupted
by gluttony
hospitality - early church hospitality and evangelism
hobbies - escape from family/social responsibilities or creativity?
gardening - link to nature

Work And Leisure

work - employment, housework, schoolwork, voluntary work
leisure - most impt to australians/nz. - does it bring us closer to God?

Central Features Of Modern Life

1. popular attitudes/values - how to bring the light of gospel to bear on these
eg. images of reality, motivations, their values/beliefs/goals
2. comms and relating - types eg. discussion, email, mass-media and the
available resources - relations under stress
3. social rituals/activities - enforces waiting eg. jams, family events, popular
rites, club membership, civic celebrations,

Secular Idols/Religions
obsessed with objects eg. house, car, tv, computer, credit card - matl
possession, guaranteed security, family, education pursuit, work, sport,
fitness/health, self/sex fulfillment
from Jaques Ellul - faithful to revelation through a new way/style of life with
full commitment eg. communism did it altho' lost cause. spiritual conviction
to dictate lifestyle not economic situation to drive our orientation

The Reality Principle

superficial to have quick answers to life questions/issues
takes time to be matured
criteria to order life's issues for long-term and short-term
support group needed to support/review our actions
- church in the home - home church - more than cell group - every other
sunday - proper worship but more informal - whole day affair - to meet the
need of members when they arise
inculate model learning (role model) wh. is displaced by formal schooling.
lack of role models in public life
good to gather same professional people to write SOP on applications of
Christian values.
use of wkshop in participative env. open to discsussion & learning - more
heads better than one
personal theology - applied in personal major decision - how much is God
involved - put yourself in a biblical story and assess our own response
itensive short-term theological trg helps. eg. ministry of the laity course at
new college, berkeley - the vision, renewal in mind and life, biblical studies
for laity, historical and cross-cultural studies for laity, theologival and ethical
studies, integrative studies and practical exp[erience, lay spirituality, laity in
the church, lay people in society and culture, lay people in workplace and
marketplace.

lay theology is not a simplified version of academic theology, rather a
corrective to it, making theology more applicable to the whole Christian
community.

A People Theology

Every person is theologian
- ordinary Christian can best identify their everyday concerns
work out a theology by themselves - professional theologians sud not be
paternalistic.
- everyday theology is cooperative effort between ordinary Christian and
professional theologian.
- a workable theology of everyday life requires practical testing by ordinary
Christian
the west learn for rather than through practice-concentrate on learning for
rather than through action
-problem with Christian pedagogy is meant for info instead of for
transformation.
theological insights come from personal experience/suffering.
puritans relate theology to business life very well

Theology Of The Whole Person
- towards holistic approach of life - our character develop through life's
complexities/decisions - need to have our own story - like the bible stories
- allow time for God and a close grp of Christian friends to teach me to have
an integrated Christian life (doctrines and ethics)
beware of the idolatry of modern-day work/job and principalities/power
idea of covenant to state of responsibilities to others
theology of the Spirit
appreciation of eschatology
admire Soren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth ???
consult other secular matl eg. literature, history, psychology

A New Paradigm For Theology
professional theologian to work with other specialists and be a servant
an insightful/powerful personal theology has a decisive/comptemplative
character.
need apostolic (barefoot) theologian for a more down-to-earth kind of life -
means drop in status + risk