'Ordinary theology' characterizes the reflective God-talk of the great majority of churchgoers, and others who remain largely untouched by the assumptions, concepts and arguments that academic theology takes for granted. Jeff Astley coined the phrase in his innovative study, Ordinary Theology: Looking, Listening and Learning in Theology, arguing that 'speaking statistically ordinary theology is the theology of God's Church'. A number of scholars have responded to this and related conceptualizations, exploring their theological implications. Other researchers have adopted the perspective in examining a range of Church practices and contexts of Christian discipleship, using the tools of empirical study. Ordinary theology research has proved to be key in uncovering people's everyday lay theology or ordinary dogmatics. Exploring Ordinary Theology presents fresh contributions from a wide range of authors, who address the theological, empirical and practical dimensions of this central feature of ordinary Christian existence and the life of the Church.
Jeff Astley was appointed as Founding Director of the North of England Institute for Christian Education in 1981. He is Honorary Professorial Fellow in Practical Theology and Christian Education at Durham University, and visiting professor at Glyndwr University and York St John University. He is the author or editor of over thirty books on Christian education, practical theology or religious faith. Recent books include: Ordinary Theology (Ashgate, 2002), Exploring God-Talk (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2004), Christ of the Everyday (SPCK, 2007), and the SCM Studyguide to Christian Doctrine (SCM, 2010). Leslie J. Francis is Professor of Religions and Education within the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, University of Warwick, and Canon Theologian at Bangor Cathedral, Wales. He is the author or editor of over fifty books, and has authored or co-authored over five hundred papers, mainly within empirical and practical theology, the psychology of religion and empirical psychology. Recent books include Faith and Psychology (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2005), Urban Hope and Spiritual Health (Epworth, 2005), British Methodism (Epworth, 2006), Gone for Good (Epworth, 2007), and Preaching with all our Soul (Continuum, 2008). Jeff Astley and Leslie Francis have collaborated in editing a number of collections of original essays in Practical Theology and Christian Education, most recently The Idea of a Christian University (Paternoster, 2004), Religion, Education and Adolescence (University of Wales Press, 2005), Peace or Violence (University of Wales Press, 2007), Empirical Theology in Texts and Tables (Brill, 2009), and Teaching Religion, Teaching Truth (forthcoming).
'This volume demonstrates how ordinary theology is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting and innovative areas in Practical Theology.' Pete Ward, King's College London, UK ’This extraordinary collection of articles Exploring Ordinary Theology is a must-read, showing the real significance of listening to what ordinary reflective Christians believe - consulting the faithful - in order to understand how diversely the tradition can be lived in and lived out.’ Terrence W. Tilley, Fordham University, USA ’I found this volume very stimulating reading for two reasons. The first is from an academic perspective: as someone who is interested in practical theological research, there was much food for critical reflection. The second is as a preacher: this book is a helpful reminder of the difference between the official teachings of the church and what many ordinary Christians and churchgoers actually believe ...I would therefore commend it both to those with an academic interest in practical theology and also to any who wish to critically reflect on their own preaching.’ Anvil ’...a new collection of essays developing the idea of ordinary theology further, through empirical research and its application. For those who have not encountered ordinary theology before it is an ideal place to start. For those who have explored it for a decade there are new resources and insights.’ Journal of Adult Theological Education '... valuable volume... The twenty-one essays, divided into two parts, of almost consistent high quality and interest, provide a useful survey of and introduction to the field.' Theology 'This is a fascinating group of essays, exploring the nature and nurture of Christian belief at a local level. It is a (wake-up) call to listen carefully to the way Christian faith is articulated amongst those many of us serve and ministry.' Regent's Reviews 'Scholars and students in a variety of theological studies should find this volume very helpful.' Theologi