This quote is from The Word of God and the Church, by Eduard Thurneysen, as cited by Marcus Ward, Our Theological Task, p. 186. It reminds, even challenges us, that our theological enterprise must always seek to be practical to the living struggles of the people, our neighbours.
Life rises before us and makes its claim. What does this theology mean for life? Does it mean anything? we know what life is–folly, error, sin, injustice, passion, drunkenness, mammon, war. That is life, but still more, it is death. It means men who are out of work, women who are being exploited, rich who are prisoners of their money, poor who have sunk down into bitterness. what does it mean that in the midst of this life, you as a theologian found a theology, work at exegesis and dogmatics, and preach sermons? Is it not clear that if the one does not come within sight of the other, if our theology and this life have nothing to do with each other, if when you are sitting by your study-lamp with your problems you do not keep in mind the brother who lives there outside in the labourers’ district in the distress of his poverty, or in the fashionable quarter in the distress of his wealth, indeed, if it is not definitely for the sake of this man and because you have him in your mind that you work at your theology, then what use is all your theology?