This book argues that the discipline of practical theology needs to be re-shaped in the light of the impact of various influences created through the encounter with globalization. Essential to this is an engagement with the insights of other disciplines, e.g. sociology, politics, economics and philosophy. The content and authority of the Christian tradition is being challenged by the blurred encounters with more fluid lifestyles, alternative spiritualities and indeed other faiths as mediated through information technology and the breakdown of attachments to all forms of institutional life. Traditional ways of 'belonging' and relating to places and structures are being eroded leaving the established patterns of ministry, worship, church organisation the province of an ageing population, while those who are now more inclined to search for 'communities of interest' avoid being drawn into the practices and structures of formal religion. What is the future for practical theology in this rapidly changing context? By examining the familiar concerns of the subject John Reader shows how it is in danger of operating with 'zombie categories' - still alive but only just - and presents the possibilities for a reflexive spirituality grounded in the Christian tradition as a way into the future.
Contents: A changing world; A sense of place; Pastoral care and globalization; Worship, spirituality and globalization; Reflexive spirituality and globalization; Families, children and globalization; Work and the new economy; Practical theology and global ethics; Bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Revd Dr John Reader, Rector of the Ironstone Benefice in the Diocese of Oxford, Senior Honorary Research Fellow with the William Temple Foundation in Manchester and Senior Tutor for the Diploma in Christian Rural and Environmental Studies based at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford.
Reviews: This book succeeds in a highly original way in linking practical theology, politics and the nature of work. I recommend it highly.
Dr Peter Sedgwick, Principal, St Michael's College Llandaff, UK
A much needed creative reformulation of pastoral and practical theology in the light of the impact of globalization on the religious field, but which also contributes to the development of a more ethically adequate reformulation of globalization.
Canon Dr John Atherton, Canon Emeritus, The University of Manchester, UK
John Reader argues that Christianity has been stifled by 'zombie' concepts that are no longer either relevant or compelling, and issues a far-reaching manifesto for a rejuvenated practical theology more suited to an emerging globalized consciousness.
Elaine Graham, Samuel Ferguson Professor of Social & Pastoral Theology, The University of Manchester, UK
‘Reader's proposal is to utilize insights from other disciplines - primarily sociology - to improve practical theology's self-understanding. His engagement with those other disciplines provides a helpful methodology by which one can evaluate the changes wrought by the impact of globalization. Thus one can begin to take critical and thoughtful, rather than reactionary or regressive steps, toward rethinking the familiar categories of pastoral ministry and the possibility of new applications.’ Theological Book Review
‘… this is a thoughtful and well-argued case which deserves a wide readership.’ Journal of Practical Theology
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Chapter 1 - A changing world
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