This article discusses the relation between gender and migration in the New Testament. Six cases of women on the move are presented: Mary, the mother of Jesus; the women in the Jesus movement; three women from the first generation of Christ-believers, Prisca, Lydia and Phoebe; and the unnamed slave woman from Acts 16:16. It is argued that these cases reveal a variety of causes for migration and also depict women who are quite different when it comes to social location and power. The article also discusses the importance of migrant networks in the first century, including religious networks such as the Jewish diaspora. It is argued that women played a key role in the migrant networks presented in New Testament texts.
This article reports the findings of a practical Theological Action Research project in a Church of England diocese in the UK, using photo elicitation. This image-based approach resulted in findings that echoed existing diocesan strategies, but also highlighted other issues that may otherwise have remained implicit, specifically the mode of mission and concerns regarding growth and survival. The visual data itself is analysed, revealing that the images do not always function as direct signifiers, but instead were generating creative, intuited responses. From the data, four mirrors were developed to reflect back to the groups their responses. This approach enabled local strategies to emerge from within espoused theologies, but also to make explicit their coherence or departure from the normative missiologies of the diocese. Finally, the authors suggest that the exposure of church leaders within training to qualitative research methodologies is releasing a new kind of leadership to emerge.
Most academic theology is written in an abstract manner that elides the “mess that is life.” Most academic anthropology rejects theological modes of reasoning and representation. The present article makes the case for an “anthropological theology” that brings together ethnographic thick description of life lived and theological modes of writing. The result is a mixed and interlaced way of writing that is richer than the traditional modes on representation in either anthropology or theology. Throughout, the author offers thick descriptions of his work as an addiction recovery coach with persons addicted to opioids in order to help display in writing the argument that he is making about writing.
Attitude toward church buildings was assessed among a sample of 6,476 churchgoers in England during the first covid-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020. The six-item Scale of Attitude toward Church Buildings (sacb) assessed a range of aspects of attitude that included the importance of buildings for Christian faith generally, and buildings as central to the expression of Christian faith. Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics showed similar positive attitude towards buildings, Anglican Evangelicals showed a less positive attitude on average that was similar to those from Free-Churches, while Broad-Church Anglican attitude lay between these two extremes. Younger people had a more positive attitude than older people, especially among Catholics. On average, men had more a positive attitude than women, and lay people a more positive attitude than clergy. These findings suggest that the significance of buildings varies among traditions in ways that may still reflect historical issues of the Reformation.
This review essay analyses three books of comparative theology between Christian and Hindu traditions in South Asia in order to address two interrelated questions: 1) do they hint at an ‘ethnographic turn’ in comparative theology? And 2) if so, what might that mean for both ethnographic theology and comparative theology as they continue to develop as disciplines? Through an interpretive, exegetical review of these works, the article observes how an evolving appreciation for ethnography in comparative theology – and an attendant and analogous turn toward comparison in ethnographic theology – could bring more texture and critical reflection to the comparison of theologies across religious traditions, a more expansive capacity to ethnographic theology, and bring both fields into more fruitful dialogue. It argues that such developments are needed in a world where the lived navigation of hyper-diversity and multiplying difference are increasingly the norm.
In this article we unpack the significance of the ‘crisis in representation’ in the field of anthropology for ethnographic approaches to academic theology. The article summarizes and draws connections among other works in this themed issue and presents possibilities for moving forwards with ethnographic theologies that attune carefully to issues of representation. Attending to questions of method, identity, and ethnographic writing, it lifts up some of the diverse and genuinely collaborative approaches to fieldwork that are made possible by the hybrid and complex roles theologians play in relation to the communities and cultures with which they engage.
The present research project addresses the question of how the theological literacy and agency of volunteer church leaders can be fostered so that cooperative church leadership can be achieved. The Protestant Churches of the Canton of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and Austria, together with the Centre for Church Development of the University of Zurich, designed a participatory research process. The aim was to increase the communicative and participative competence of volunteers. Together, through a creative and discursive process, the foundations, educational processes and tools necessary for theological empowerment were developed with the volunteer church leaders. The cooperative project combines research and practice in the sense that practitioners were actively involved in generating, evaluating and discussing the data. In addition, in this project we found ways to continue participatory research – for example through online discourse formats – and thus not lose the essence of such research in times of covid-19.