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.
’… there is immense practical wisdom and insight to be found… there is much that is novel and exciting here.’ Church Times ’This collection of essays sets out to be something of a manifesto. Reader and Baker, on the basis of earlier work, claim that theological reflection and practice has entered, as the title suggests, a new space� where the decisions and debates are made through blurred encounters.� They draw on contemporary evaluations of the dynamics of modern society. The contention is that the Church is entering into a radically new phase of mission and witness.’ Practical Theology ’What is exciting about this book is that it provides a creative philosophical basis for theological reflection and an interesting starting-point for dialogue with a number of other disciplines.’ Modern Believing '… this volume deserve[s] wide reading, and the ongoing conversations encouraged therein are to be commended. Social planners, missiologists, pastoral practitioners and those training them will all benefit from reading this book, and from taking up the challenge to engage in the interdisciplinary and multilayered interstices of cultural, political and theological realities.' Per Crucem ad Lucem Blog '… this volume deserves wide reading, and the ongoing conversations encouraged therein are to be commended. Social planners, missiologists, pastoral practitioners and those training them will all benefit from reading this book, and from taking up the challenge to engage in the interdisciplinary and multi-layered interstices of cultural, political and theological realities.' International Journal of Public Theology
Theological reflection on the church’s practice is now recognised as a significant element in theological studies in the academy and seminary. Routledge's series in practical, pastoral and empirical theology seeks to foster this resurgence of interest and encourage new developments in practical and applied aspects of theology worldwide. This timely series draws together a wide range of disciplinary approaches and empirical studies to embrace contemporary developments including: the expansion of research in empirical theology, psychological theology, ministry studies, public theology, Christian education and faith development; key issues of contemporary society such as health, ethics and the environment; and more traditional areas of concern such as pastoral care and counselling.