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Author: Mirella Klomp
In what is often considered ‘a society “after God”’, millions of Dutch participate annually in a public multi-media performance of Christ's Passion. What to make of this paradox? In Playing On: Re-staging the Passion after the Death of God, Mirella Klomp offers a theological analysis of this performance and those involved in it. Working in an interdisciplinary fashion and utilizing creative interludes, she demonstrates how precisely this production of Jesus' last hours carves out a new and unexpected space for God in a (post-)secular culture. Klomp argues compellingly that understanding God's presence in the Western world requires looking beyond the church and at the public domain; that is the future of practical theology. She lays out this agenda for practical theology by showing how the Dutch playfully rediscover Christian tradition, and – perhaps – even God.
In Fannie Lou Hamer’s Revolutionary Practical Theology Crozier acknowledges, analyses, and constructs the civil and human rights leader’s Christian thought and practice. Commonly known for her political activism, Hamer is presented as a religious thought leader whose embodiment of ideas and ideals helped to disrupt and transform the Jim Crow of the South within and beyond electoral politics.

Through primary source documents of Hamer’s oral history interviews, autobiographical writings, speeches, and multimedia publications on or about her life and legacy, Crozier allows Hamer to have her say on racial and environmental justice concerns. Crozier introduces Hamer as a revolutionary practical theologian who resided on the margins of the church, academy, and society.
Author: Joris Geldhof

Abstract

This essay is centered around five questions: (i) What is the proper place of liturgical theology? (ii) What past evolutions have there been and what tendencies are there currently in the field of liturgical theology? (iii) What contents should liturgical theologians focus on? (iv) How can liturgical theologians engage in research? And (v): How can liturgical theology appropriately respond to events occurring in Church and society? Each question corresponds to one part. The rationale behind ordering the content this way is the following: starting from a reflection about the non-evident place of liturgical theology, an attempt is made to reposition it on the basis of its genealogy in the Liturgical Movement. It seems that this is a particularly fruitful way to give liturgical theology a proper profile and identity. Correspondingly, liturgical theology can be considered a fully-fledged research program that manifests its usefulness and fruitfulness. In particular, it is shown that liturgical theologians are called to engage in the study of the meaning of Christian worship, and thereby contribute to theology as a whole. They are to employ a variety of methods but should proceed in such a way that directs reflection, research and spirituality always towards the core of liturgy, as established by the history and economy of salvation and culminating in the paschal mystery. If, and inasmuch they do this, they will have a great deal to offer given the complex challenges the Church and theology are confronted with today. The fundamental principle of this entire essay is that liturgical theology does not simply deal with Christian rituals, festivals and sacraments, but with the core of faith itself—God, the world, the Christ event, tradition, Church, and redemption—to the extent that it is embodied and expressed in worship practices.

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Theology

Abstract

In all its diversity, Lutheran ethics places a pronounced emphasis on the universal aspects of theological ethics. This article argues that due to the increasing pluralization of many societies in recent decades, however, it is becoming more and more relevant to develop the particular aspects of theological ethics in the Lutheran tradition. Holding together both the universal and particular aspects of theological ethics constitutes a position of relevance for a pluralistic societal situation. Such a position enables the Christian church to maintain its distinctiveness and, at the same time, to be engaged in dialogue with other positions. In this way, the church will at once stand for a tradition-determined distinctiveness and be engaged in a tradition-transcending dialogue. Consequently, this position is characterized by both distinctiveness and openness.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
In: International Journal of Public Theology
Author: Darren Cronshaw

Abstract

The Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV) encourages local churches to give priority to contributing to the well-being of their local neighbourhoods through community engagement and advocacy. This commitment to holistic mission and local community development is an integral part of the public theology of local churches, given Elaine Graham’s argument that ‘practical care and service constitutes the essential praxis of public theology’. But to what extent does the reality of BUV local church mission match this rhetoric? The 2016 National Church Life Survey (NCLS) helps identify what community service BUV churches and their members are involved in. This article discusses the statistical state-wide responses of Victorian Baptists from NCLS 2016, together with interview responses from church leaders. It explores aspects of community development most valued by attenders, where church members are volunteering, and how and where churches are providing social services, prophetic advocacy and environmental care. This denominational case study illustrates that churches offering social services and fostering advocacy and creation care are functioning as the local praxis of public theology.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
Author: Jason Lam

Abstract

Most participants in the Sino-Christian theology movement are not affiliated with the church. This state of affairs naturally raises the question whether what scholarship arises is really a kind of theology or merely writings on public and/or political issues with reference to Christian themes. And yet the movement is more influential than the church in the Chinese public realm in terms of its ability to produce a Christian voice. The purpose of this article is first to examine the historical development of Sino-Christian theology over the past several decades. Some particular themes of this movement are then explored. These themes are intertwined with the discussion of polytheistic values, nationalism, and self-identity in times of cultural conflict: all of these matters are of wide public concern. There are evident tensions within the Sino-Christian theology movement: the intention is to show points of difference can be transformed and become a creative drive behind the construction of a new kind of theology in the Chinese public realm.

In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

This representative survey amongst 653 ministers in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) maps their experiences and views with regard to euthanasia. We found that three-quarters of the ministers have experience with euthanasia requests from their parishioners. Almost two-thirds of them respect a parishioner’s euthanasia request. Differentiating the answers on the basis of modality, we see differences in attitudes, both regarding euthanasia itself and regarding the pastoral approach. Although ministers have considerable experience with euthanasia, the open questions posed reveal that ministers encounter many difficulties and dilemmas: there is urgent need for discussion and support. The article intends to contribute to the search for a best pastoral practice in dealing with euthanasia requests and explores the need for a renewed role for the PKN in the social and political debate on euthanasia.

In: International Journal of Public Theology