In this landmark volume, internationally recognized scholars address key intellectual and practical conundrums that not only trouble practical theology but also reflect biases and breakdowns in the construction of theological knowledge in academy and religious communities at large. With critical facility and unheralded honesty that includes reflexivity about their own lives in the academy, the authors tackle complex issues that refuse easy solutions— racism, hierarchy of theory over practice, devaluation of small case studies, risks of interdisciplinarity to scholarly identity, inequities between Christian traditions, unreflective Christian-centrism, and tensions between the production of scholarship and public service. Outcomes of these issues will have serious implications for the discipline and the study of theology for years to come.
Contributors include Tom Beaudoin, Eileen R. Campbell-Reed, Faustino M. Cruz, Jaco Dreyer, Courtney T. Goto, Tone Stangeland Kaufman, Joyce Ann Mercer, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Phillis Isabella Sheppard, Katherine Turpin, Claire E. Wolfteich.
Joyce Ann Mercer, Professor of Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at Yale Divinity School, is editor of
Religious Education and author of multiple articles and monographs including
Girl Talk, God Talk (Jossey-Bass, 2008), and a forthcoming study on church conflict.
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture at The Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University and author of several monographs, including
Christian Theology in Practice (Eerdmans, 2012).
Table of contents
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore and Joyce Ann Mercer
Why Does Practice Matter Theologically?
The Power and Danger of a Single Case Study in Practical Theological Research
Eileen R. Campbell-Reed
The Tension between Scholarship and Service
Faustino M. Cruz
Knowledge, Subjectivity, (De)Coloniality, and the Conundrum of Reflexivity
Writing in Compliance with the Racialized ‘Zoo’ of Practical Theology
Courtney T. Goto
From the Outside, Within, or Inbetween? Normativity at Work in Empirical Practical Theological Research
Tone Stangeland Kaufman
Interdisciplinarity as a Practical Theological Conundrum
Joyce Ann Mercer
The Theory-Practice Binary and the Politics of Practical Knowledge
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
The Complexity of Local Knowledge
Reframing Practical Theology: Catholic Contributions and Conundrums
Claire E. Wolfteich
Scholars and post-graduate students in theology interested in the study of religious practices, intersections of academic theology and everyday practices, and structures and curriculum of theological education.