This article serves as an introduction to faith-based community organizing and to this special issue of IJPT. First, an overview of the history of community organizing in the US includes introductions to the key figures (Saul Alinsky and Ed Chambers), organizing networks and methods currently employed. Then current challenges to community organizing are explored, such as technology, gender and race. Further, the rigid distinction between broad-based and issue organizing is challenged. Finally, the article notes that the impact of Barack Obama’s background as a community organizer on political discourse has raised the profile of this form of social mobilization, and it is reframing the questions raised for public theologians as community organizing moves into the future.
This article presents findings of research conducted in the summer of 2006, and it focuses on how public theology is understood in the academy in relation to the realities encountered by clergy and lay leaders in a challenging ministry context. Through ethnographic research based in South Africa, I examined the relationship between congregations confronting the AIDS epidemic and widespread poverty, and the construction of public theology in the theological academy at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. The research asked: what is the nature of the correspondence between 'formal' public theology and the local, 'lived' theologies of those doing ministry in South Africa; how does local experience influence the ways that the academy prepares leaders for public ministry. The findings from this study, as discussed in this article, have implications for theological education, in terms of enhancing the public orientation of institutions and understanding the link between context and curriculum.
Edited by Sebastian Kim and Katie Day
Public theology has emerged in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as theologians have increasingly entered the public square to engage complex issues. This Companion to Public Theology brings a much-needed resource to this relatively new field. The essays contained here bring a robust and relevant faith perspective to a wide range of issues as well as foundational biblical and theological perspectives which equip theologians to enter into public dialogue. Public theology has never been more needed in public discourse, whether local or global. In conversation across disciplines its contribution to the construction of just policies is apparent in this volume, as scholars examine the areas of political, social and economic spheres as well as issues of ethics and civil societies, and draw on contexts from six continents.
Contributors are: Chris Baker, Andrew Bradstock, Luke Bretherton, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Letitia M. Campbell, Cláudio Carvalhaes, Katie Day, Frits de Lange, Jolyon Mitchell, Elaine Graham, Paul Hanson, Nico Koopman, Sebastian Kim, Esther McIntosh, Clive Pearson, Scott Paeth, Larry L. Rasmussen, Hilary Russell, Nicholas Sagovsky, Dirk J. Smit, William Storrar, David Tombs, Rudolf von Sinner, Jenny Anne Wright, and Yvonne Zimmerman.