At the beginning of the twenty-first century there is an increasing tendency to retrenchment within the Christian churches and among other world religions. Religious fundamentalisms are on the increase. In Europe, at least, there is an accelerated decline in church membership. In theology there is a corresponding move away from addressing basic theological issues in the contemporary world, towards increasingly technical interpretation of historical tradition. This book draws on the strengths in classical liberal traditions in theology, augmented by other perspectives, to present a creative proposal for the future of theology and society. George Newlands explores the nature, scope and limits of an intercultural Christian theology, setting out a working model for a new open theology which relates theology and culture. Contributing to the cumulative effort to re-imagine faith in the contemporary world, a focus on the Christian understanding of God lies at the heart of this book. Exploring the interface between theology and particular cultural activities, The Transformative Imagination engages with politics, literature, philosophy and other humanities, and the natural sciences. The relationship between theology and the social and geographical sub-cultures which characterize human life, is explored through diverse examples which make connections and initiate dialogue. Connecting Christian theology and human rights, religion is seen to link constructively with some of the most intractable problems in contemporary global conflicts of interest. Theology is re-situated as a team player, a catalyst to facilitate dialogue in contrast to triumphalist theologies of the past.
'Newlands draws upon a very wide range of material in the social and physical sciences, philosophy and literature, as well as the Christian tradition in which he is rooted. All this is done with a sure touch. As a result, one main use of the book will probably be as an introduction for students to this extensive range of modern thought and discovery. This is both a constructive contribution to ongoing discussion and a very useful introduction to aspects of secular thought of which theologians should take account.' Professor John Hick, Birmingham, UK 'Newlands with sparkling wit and sharp judgement offers a masteful survey of the debates over theology and culture.Â Â This bookÂ is a much-needed advocacy for an ’engaged’ theology: one that firmly locates the task of theology within a church firmly in the world.Â An absolute must for all interested in applied theology.' Professor Ian Markham, Dean of Hartford Seminary, USA '… the author brings to bear a very considerable range of reading, and one of the evident ways in which it can serve the reader is by providing a survey of numerous interlocking debates across theological and other literature over the last several decades. The arguments are neatly summarised and the accumulative effect is one of a substantial library in miniature… The reader of this book will inhabit a wide range of texts, sharing in the author's extensive knowledge and civilized intuitions, and will emerge greatly enriched by the experience.' The Expository Times
Contents: Preface. Part I Thinking Intercultural Theology: The quest for intercultural theology; Discernment: beyond liberal and confessional theologies; The intercultural turn: shaping the envelope; Reappraising hermeneutics: theology without frontiers; The secular and the religious: Culture and politics. Part II Focusing Intercultural Theology: God, Christology and Human Rights: Humane Praxis and the distinctively Christian; Human rights, theological partnership. Part III Integrating Intercultural Theology: Embodying Interdisciplinarity: Theology, culture and the humanities; Intercultural theology and the sciences; Theology in metamodern culture; The mystery of God. Bibliography; Index.