Entering the New Theological Space

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This book presents theological reflections on the changing nature of church mission and Christian identity within a theology of ‘blurred encounter’ – a physical, social, political and spiritual space where once solid hierarchies and patterns are giving way to more fluid and in many ways unsettling exchanges. The issues raised and dynamics explored apply to all socially-produced space, thus tending to ‘blur’ that most fundamental of theological categories – namely urban vs. rural theology. Engaging in a sharper way with some of the helpful but inevitably broad-brush conclusions raised by recent church-based reports (Mission-shaped Church, Faithful Cities), the authors examine some of the practical and theological implications of this research for the issue of effective management and therefore church leadership generally. Speaking to practitioners in the field of practical theology as well as those engaged in theological and ministerial training, key voices encompass dimensions of power and conflict, and identify some of the present and future opportunities and challenges to church/faith-based engagement and leadership arising from blurred encounters. Contributors – practitioners and theorists – cover a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary professional contexts and academic/denominational interests. Contributors include: John Atherton, John Reader, Helen Cameron, Martyn Percy, Malcolm Brown, Karen Lord, Clare McBeath and Margaret Goodall.

Table of contents

Cover Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
List of Figures and Table
Introduction Entering the New Space of the Blurred Encounter Between Faith, Politics and Community
1 Mainstreaming the Edges: Reflections on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Fair Trade
2 Brief Engagements, Processional Encounters
3 A Blurred InterFaith, InterCultural Experience: A Kidderminster Story
4 Blurred Encounters in the Suburbs: Problems of Place and Problematic Places
5 Networks – The Blurring of Institution and Networks: How Should the Church Engage?
6 How to See the Wood for the Trees: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Dementia
7 Kent – The Garden Of Dilemma
8 Weightless Identity in Post-Material Communities
9 Negotiating Identity: The Christian Individual and the Secular Institution
10 Sanctuary and Liminality: Stories, Reflections and Liturgy Exploring the Blurred Encounters Between Mental Health and Illness as an Inner-City Church
11 ‘Betwixt and Between’: Anthropological Approaches to Blurred Encounters
12 Baptism as Cultural Conversation: Explorations in Implicit Theology
13 Truth in Science and Theology: Latour, Žižek and the Theory of Circulating Reference
14 An Experience of Rural Ministry
15 Mapping the New Theological Space: From Blurred Encounters to Thresholds of Transformation
Index of Names
Index of Subjects

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