Sunday, March 15, 2009

Transforming Theology: "Sharing Wisdom After The First Conference"

Theology is in a time of serious flux. And there are many reasons for that flux. The Mainline Church is still trying to find its place in a post-Mainline world. The Evangelical Church is trying to discern a new direction in a post-Religious Right era. The Emergent Church is attempting to discover a non-structural way to structure themselves. Postmodernity is helping the Church take a closer and more honest look at themselves and the way they practice ministry. Feminism is challenging the Church to be more egalitarian and inclusive of the voices and contexts of women. Multiculturalism is challenging the Church to be more democratic and mindful of the particularities of different cultures. Eco-justice is challenging the Church to be more active in caring for God's Creation. The economic recession is challenging all levels of the Church to figure out how to do good and faithful ministry in times of financial hardship. The chasm between the theology in churches and the theology in seminaries is growing wider every year. Emergent science is displacing a Newtonian understanding of the world, with a radically more interdependent understanding of the world. The list could go on and on. The reality of the situation is clear: There are major changes and challenges underway that need serious theological reflection in all areas of the Church.

The Transforming Theology folks are considering these very topics. The goal is to reflect theologically on these topics and then discern concrete action for the future. Reflection and action. Sounds like CPE. Maybe that is what the Church needs right now. We need the prayerful reflection and careful action of a CPE group. Thankfully, Transforming Theology is doing its part. In fact, the mission of Transforming Theology is to "tighten the bonds between theology and transformative action in the church and the world." The first formal gathering of this group just occurred in California.

On Friday, March 13th theologians from around the US gathered at Claremont School of Theology to discuss Transforming the Church through rekindling and rethinking theological reflection. The theologians included: Doug Ottati, Gary Dorrien, Joseph Bracken, Helene Russell, Dawn DeVries, Tony Jones, Doug Meeks, Mary Fulkerson, Dwight Hopkins, and Harvey Cox.

On Saturday, March 14th theologians from around the US gathered at Claremont School of Theology to discuss Transforming Society through rekindling and rethinking theological reflection. The theologians included: Bill Dean, Mayra Rivera, Glen Stassen, Jonathan Walton, Emilie Townes, Ignacio Castuera, Ellen Armour, Joerg Rieger, Laurel Schneider, and Victor Anderson.

These are some of the best and brightest minds in the world of academic theology. Their insights are certainly worth serious consideration. But it would be optimal for as many different people to engage in this discussion as possible. The voices of informal theologians are especially important to add to this conversation. Obviously, not everyone has the time, money, and interest to fly out to California for a conference. But there are other ways to engage this material. This is where the internet comes in handy. As video recordings and blog reflections become avalible, they will be posted below.

Here is a video of Philip Clayton and Tony Jones discussing Emergent Science and Emergent Church.

Here is a video of Philip Clayton and Tony Jones taking questions from the audience about Emergent Science and Emergent Church.

Donna Bowman blogged about the event: Day 3.

Tripp Fuller blogged: Day 2 and Day 3.

Tony Jones blogged: Everything You Think About Progressive Theology Is Wrong, Day 2, and Day 3.

Please add your voice and wisdom to this discussion. The Holy Spirit talks to and through each of us. So, if we're going to transform theology in a real and authentic way, the Church needs as many people sitting around the table as possible.

I decided to walk the walk instead of just talk the talk. So I am taking part in this discussion through blogging. My blog posts for Transforming Theology include: Emergent Christianity, Liberal Christianity is Conservative, Reclaiming the Church with John Cobb and Thinking Theologically As Full-Time Christians. Also, you can find the link to my blog and the reflections of many others at the Transforming Theology blog.


  1. I have enjoyed reading your blog and will coment in future


  2. Followed you here from TonyJ's blog. I've always noted your comments there with interest.

    Seeing as it seems you won't be posting there no more, I thought I'd keep one eye on what you're thinking by visiting here.

    Quite a back-log of posts to sort through ;)