“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” I believe baseball’s accidental philosopher, Yogi Berra, was on to something when he said this.
All of us who have been fortunate enough to study at Drew Theological School can recognize the deep truth in this Yogi-ism. The world, as we know only too well, is an imperfect, fallen place. There is a gulf – a gulf sometimes seemingly impossible to bridge – between the way things ought to be and the way things are. The relationship between vision and reality, between theology and application, between theory and praxis, is an uneasy one.
And yet both theory and practice are necessary, especially for those of us called to ministry as pastors, chaplains, teachers, and leaders. We know from hard experience that we cannot separate them or approach them in isolation. Otherwise, we fall victim to one of two powerful temptations: to try and force all things to conform to our “perfect” theories, or to give up all hope of making the world a more just and peaceful place.
It is only by understanding the original beauty, goodness, and wisdom of God’s creation that we can contribute to its restoration. And it is only by recognizing and even experiencing how the world actually operates – in all of its uncertainty and ambiguity and occasional ugliness – that we can hope to change things for the better.
As graduates of Drew Theological School, we have been especially well-prepared to navigate the complicated relationship between theory and practice that Yogi describes. From Carl Michalson, George Kelsey, and Dave Graybeal, to Otto Maduro, Traci West, and Chris Boesel, Drew faculty have always been committed to helping their students understand the world as it really is, articulate a vision of how it should be, and acquire the tools needed to partner with God in healing a broken world.
To honor the outstanding preparation you received at Drew Theological School, and to ensure that the next generation of prophetic leaders receive the same outstanding education, I hope you will join me in making a gift of to The Fund for Drew. Your continued generosity, both in theory and in practice, will make it possible for Drew to continue its long and distinguished tradition of preparing students for ministry.
Thank you, as always, for keeping Drew Theological School in your thoughts and prayers.
Joe Monahan T’03
President, Theological School Alumni Association