Since the days of Aquinas, students of theology have been seen as thedorks of the religious world, scholars who'd rather calculate how manyangels can dance on the head of a pin than think about the messy problemsof living a life informed by faith. But the editors of this richcollection of essays take pains to differentiate "pastoral" or "practical"theology from the more academic, arcane variety. What it means, they say,is finding ways to link religious teaching to everyday practice, to movefrom being a student of the Gospels to teaching, living and working guidedby its teachings. The book is at its best when addressing the theological problems whichconfront the modern minister: how to grapple with issues of sexuality andrelationships, how ministers should deal with therapists and the mentalhealth community, how clergy should approach politics, what to think aboutbusiness writers who cite the Bible. The book is most useful for those whoplay a leadership role in their religious communities, but anyone whocares about linking the abstractions of faith to life in the world shouldfind it worthwhile.