web site hit counter Doing Local Theology: A Guide for Artisians of a New Humanity - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Doing Local Theology: A Guide for Artisians of a New Humanity

Availability: Ready to download

Clemens Sedmak's Doing Local Theology, presents the construction of "local theologies" as an enterprise that is not just for Latin Americans, Asians, or Africans. Nor just for theologians. Instead, it is the art of thinking theologically about any local church and implementing a process that grounds people intentionally and aesthetically in the deepest Christian dimensions Clemens Sedmak's Doing Local Theology, presents the construction of "local theologies" as an enterprise that is not just for Latin Americans, Asians, or Africans. Nor just for theologians. Instead, it is the art of thinking theologically about any local church and implementing a process that grounds people intentionally and aesthetically in the deepest Christian dimensions of their daily lives. This book is beautifully written and will become a standard in courses on method in theology, foundations of ministry, and adult discussion groups. Theologizing, in Sedmak's terms, is reflection on people's everyday world, on everyday occurrences, and on local realities. Most of all, he shows how the everyday is where people encounter God in their relationships with one another, their larger communities, and the very physical environment we live in. If Robert Schreiter's monumental Constructing Local Theologies provides theoretical underpinning on the nature of local theologies, Clemens Sedmak shows that it is an art in which people learn to understand themselves and find full freedom as God's daughters and sons.


Compare

Clemens Sedmak's Doing Local Theology, presents the construction of "local theologies" as an enterprise that is not just for Latin Americans, Asians, or Africans. Nor just for theologians. Instead, it is the art of thinking theologically about any local church and implementing a process that grounds people intentionally and aesthetically in the deepest Christian dimensions Clemens Sedmak's Doing Local Theology, presents the construction of "local theologies" as an enterprise that is not just for Latin Americans, Asians, or Africans. Nor just for theologians. Instead, it is the art of thinking theologically about any local church and implementing a process that grounds people intentionally and aesthetically in the deepest Christian dimensions of their daily lives. This book is beautifully written and will become a standard in courses on method in theology, foundations of ministry, and adult discussion groups. Theologizing, in Sedmak's terms, is reflection on people's everyday world, on everyday occurrences, and on local realities. Most of all, he shows how the everyday is where people encounter God in their relationships with one another, their larger communities, and the very physical environment we live in. If Robert Schreiter's monumental Constructing Local Theologies provides theoretical underpinning on the nature of local theologies, Clemens Sedmak shows that it is an art in which people learn to understand themselves and find full freedom as God's daughters and sons.

30 review for Doing Local Theology: A Guide for Artisians of a New Humanity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sagely

    I read Sedmak's DLT for a DMin course. I love what it set out to do, but I found Sedmak to fail at the project, reverting to tried and true received formations rather than offering a model that leads to truly local theological formations. Below find my "working outline" of DLT. Introduction (§1-2) Theology is about attending (“waking up”) to social context. Theology is mindfulness that goes “to the roots of matters” (2). Social context is always local context. Theology takes the particularity of the I read Sedmak's DLT for a DMin course. I love what it set out to do, but I found Sedmak to fail at the project, reverting to tried and true received formations rather than offering a model that leads to truly local theological formations. Below find my "working outline" of DLT. Introduction (§1-2) Theology is about attending (“waking up”) to social context. Theology is mindfulness that goes “to the roots of matters” (2). Social context is always local context. Theology takes the particularity of the local situations seriously, “seeing differences between times and places, cultures and peoples.” This awareness of local context extends both to theology’s sources as well as its audience. Ch One (§3-9) Doing theology as Jesus did means bringing people closer to God via a particular way of listening to God and talking to people about God. Theology talks about our lives in “from a point of ultimate concern, as if how we live makes a difference” (7). Why do theology? “Because we share a vision and we experience wounds” (8). The shared beatific vision is of a community, community with God. Theology keeps this vision alive by reading the signs of the times. But we who tend this vision are wounded people, and “doing theology is a way to attend to the wounds of our time” (9). Resurrection and crucifixion. Theology is multiform, in process as well as configurations, radically particular to context (though it may travel). “Theology is like a family of many different activities centered around friendship with God” (11). Everybody does theology insofar as they attend to their ultimate concerns (Tillich?). This results in a resource of implicit theologies for professional theologians to work with. Doing good theology “is not so much the ability to talk but the abilities to listen and to observe” (14). Theology is always “done from somewhere,” perspectival and drawing the resources of a locally-formed life (“our backpack,” 16). This provides both advantages and weaknesses to overcome. Theology done well is theology that grounds itself in “the well-known in order to communicate God’s message” (17). A theologian is like a village cook, modifying (sometimes radically) tried and true recipes with local ingredients. Ch Two (§10-18) Jesus, our model theologian, did theology as prompted by personal encounters. A look at Jesus “before Christianity” [What does this mean? Before Nicea? Constantine? NT Gospels? NT letters?] reveals that Jesus spoke to his local context (Palestine) with a skepticism for received dogmatic traditions (Pharisaism, Temple institution) while maintaining a respect for locally- received traditions (Hebrew Bible). Jesus was a “legitimate citizen of a local tradition, ... a member of his cultural community” who “shared the hopes and fears of his people” (23). We realize this when we reflect on the (pre-ministry) “hidden life of Jesus.” Later, in his ministry, we see Jesus’ concern with “little people”—landless workers. Jesus challenged the received local traditions from within, showing that “local cultures, like individuals, are in need of transformation” (25). Jesus finds new meaning in the received traditions, rejecting the local as the final field of reference. Jesus spoke with the authority/courage received through spiritual formation and spiritual practice. “The center of proclaiming God is our relationship with God” (27). Jesus invited people to use their common sense when thinking about God. Jesus trusted the capabilities of the people in his social context. Jesus changed theological approach in response to a given local situation, opting not to “imposer ready-made theological categories on people” (29). His theology was responsive— Rahner-esque “‘leaflet theology’ rather than ‘book-length theology’” (29). Doing theology for Jesus was a community-building activity. This is, however, a community that overcomes local context, “characterized by its localness in the sense that it is rooted in a person, Jesus” (32). Compassion was a prime motivator for Jesus’ theology. “Seeking the personal encounter was part of Jesus’ theological method” (34). The is theology for the well-being of the people. Jesus said theology should be judged by its “fruits.” Sedmak chooses three criteria from community development discourse: sustainability, appropriateness, empowerment. He adds a fourth criterion: counter-cultural challenge. Each theology needs to answer to these four criteria that stand in some degree of tension with one another. Local theology needs to take a “third look at Jesus,” answering the question “Who is Jesus for you?” How would I narrate Jesus for my situation? This assumes that I function out of an encounter with Jesus. Ch Three (§19-25) Theology is a communal task that requires us to reappropriate our Christian community’s many “little traditions.” This means seeing the relevance of our traditions for our contemporary situation. The key message of the Christian tradition varies from context to context. This is the “third look” question. In this process, the life of Jesus serves as a “reference point” for appropriating local cultural “key ideas.” “We can translate the big ideas of our culture into little theologies by looking at Jesus” (48). Intellectual honesty requires us to “respect” our received theological tradition—this is communal accountability. But this theological tradition must be “translated” [complex term] for local context through the lens of particular elements of the tradition. This theological tradition “is a dialogue with a larger context than the immediate context of our actions,” which provides us with a “sense of identity” (53). But this dialogue needs to be made local, with a “cultural face” (54). The Bible, too, needs to be reappropriated for present-day contexts. While the Bible is always an invitation “to the mysteries of the divine life” (56), everyone reads it with an agenda. Local theologies interpret the social context with the Bible in hand. E.g., Gutiérrez on Job. Local “saints” show us hot to make Christianity a living, local tradition/practice. The diverse ways they do this displays a “healthy pluralism” (63) within the “one garden” and “common roots” of Christian faith. “At the root of every spirituality there is a particular experience that is had by concrete persons living at a particular time” (Gutiérrez 1986, 101, in Sedmak, 65). E.g., Câmara’s spirituality. Criteria of “good” local theologies: realness (honesty & presence to the situations), fidelity to Jesus, and resultant praxis. Jesus’ ministry worked corresponded to these criteria. Ch Four (§26-32) Local cultures are “expressions of God’s continuing creation”; doing theology specific to this culture is a “second step” of reflection on that situation (73). Culture is the manifestation of people seeking meaning and security against chaos. Theology occurs, at least implicitly, when we we reflect on these basic and ultimate concerns. “The human situation provokes questions because it is fragile” (74). [Does this parallel “worldview” approaches to theology?] These implicit theologies “can be dangerous and should be made explicit for the sake of the community” (75). Implicit theologizing may be present in the “silent languages” or “depth dimensions” of cultural folkways, tacit ideals of the “good life” or hidden wounds. “Value stories,” which present characters in ambiguous situations, can help reveal these submerged theologies within a community. One task of local theologizing is to analyze local cultures for these depth dimensions while trying to understand Jesus and Scripture. Theology needs to be “constantly negotiated within local cultures” (80). Local language use (“concepts”) “reveal a culture’s way of seeing the world” and “convey value systems” (81). Concepts reflect socially significant distinctions. Language serves and develops within local praxis. Similarly “cultural games” (e.g., “eating, writing letters, making jokes, praying, traveling, watching TV, reading a book, undergoing a medical exam” [87]) show and shape a culture’s character. Cultural games are “any type of human activity that can be named and described and reproduced” (87). These offer predictability to social life. These games are learned part of cultural tradition that nevertheless continue to evolve. They require both competence and authorization on the part of their players, and playing them confers status. Gameplay thus stratifies society. Some games (e.g., soccer in Brazil, Christmas celebrations in Austria) dominate a particular local culture; these are “leading games,” which accrue more time, money, space, popularity, prestige. Investigating the Who, What, How, When, Where, and Why of cultural games is part of doing local theology. Cultural games find their origin and authorization in cultural stories and worldviews. “Local rituals reveal local knowledge” (91). These stories (knowledge) are the background against which games display their meaning. Different cultures tell different stories, often on the basis of divergent histories. When cultures meet, there is an exchange of, and sometimes confrontation over, sometimes enrichment by, stories. Globalization works to universalize one set of cultural stories. Ch Five (§33-37) To understand the origin and worth of local theologies, we need to understand the social situation. Contextualization is part of doing justice to the place in which we do theology. “When doing theology in a self-critical manner, we have to ask ourselves where we are” (96). Theology appropriate to context recognizes that theologians are also “social actors with a particular place in society” (Boff, in Sedmak, 96), occupying a space and taking a perspective in the social structure and political context. “There is no neutral theological stance” (98). We must make an option for the poor that will shape our theological judgments. “Sometimes we cannot just sit and listen. Sometimes we cannot just lean back and watch passively. There are situations that require action” (98). This is hard work, demanding that we ask who is excluded, where do they feel weak, where is their strength—all in a spirit of empathy and respect, compassion. This is part of “waking up.” An option for the poor must be personal, not abstract, generalized. It accepts “small beginnings” (103). Theology requires social analysis (“Talking about God is always, at least implicitly, talk about the social situation” [104]), but social analysis can only get us so far; it does not reckon with the “mystical dimension” that impinges on theology. Social analysis carefully and courageously looks at institutions and the distribution of power. It must be married to a theological appraisal construed in the concepts of the Christian tradition (e.g., relationships, transformation, forgiveness, reconciliation, conversion, responsibility, solidarity). “Behind every social analysis there is also an implicit theology that is an interpretation of the ultimate source, foundation, and goal of society” (Holland 1983, 21, in Sedmak, 105). Negotiating these two ways of reading the social situation ventures into questions of normativity—When is social analysis not enough to guide action? When does the mystical address social reality? Regional theologies attend to “the core constitutive elements of the regional setting” (111). Local theological production (e.g., Tyrolean village) must attend to the regional theological context (e.g., Austrian context). Regional contextual realities serve as “signposts for the construction of local theologies” (112). But this a two-way street: regional realities should be validated by “thorough analysis of of one particular local context” (113). Ch Six (§38-48) “Little theologies are theologies made for particular situations, taking particular circumstances into account, using local questions and concerns, local stories and examples as their starting point” (119). Weddings, baptisms, funerals, retreats, liturgies are examples of these little theologies. Little theologies are bound to the situation and constructed for people, not scholarship. They are “meant to serve a purpose—within the everyday life of a community” (120). This demands flexibility of methods and material. While constrained in context, little theologies are not “theology lite” or mere sentimentality. Rather they are robust theology put to service in richly embedded community. They cannot repeat what has been said in another context; they must speak afresh to their situations. Little theologies are also timely, addressed to this moment; they are situational and crafted where people know each others’ faces. Little theologies have three tasks: (1) locate the richness of the local contexts, which leads toward liberation; (2) challenge the local context toward “going beyond” itself; (3) midwife greater depth of awareness and empowerment. Little theologies do this work in response to concrete occasions and local, personal questions, regular or extraordinary events—listening, learning, and offering personal answers as they go along (cf. a case study methodology). Personal examen of the details of our days (e.g., lifestyle choices) also provides occasions for little theologies—What might we have done differently? Our performance in these three task is evaluated by “its appropriateness to the given situation and fidelity to the gospel” (141). Little theologies look closely at the small things of life that otherwise do not get much attention. This is a part of “waking up” that requires practice. This applies to Scriptural texts as much as to people. Highlighted details can illuminate the whole of at text or situation. Little theologies are constructed from local ingredients—“local rituals and everyday language, in local songs and proverbs, in buildings and works of art” (146). Theologians need to get to know their local culture. Elements of little theologies may include local images, local proverbs or sayings (including bathroom graffiti), true local stories. Each of these increases connection to the community and opens up interpretation. Epilogue (§49-50) Doing local theology is an “attempt to create a culture of hope, ... to make the world a better place and to instill hope that this is possible in the people around us” (158). Theology helps articulate this hope in the midst of all sorts of evidence against hope. “Theology is an invitation to become part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem” (159).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    One of my favorite theology books over the past few years. Sedmak paints the picture early on of a local theologian as a "village cook" taking local ingredients in order to serve, love, feed, and build a local community. Unfortunately, Sedmak doesn't continue this image throughout the entire book (though it still applies). It is easy to read but challenging and stretching in its content. While it is not the most academic book, it has very tangible application in life and in ministry. I would defi One of my favorite theology books over the past few years. Sedmak paints the picture early on of a local theologian as a "village cook" taking local ingredients in order to serve, love, feed, and build a local community. Unfortunately, Sedmak doesn't continue this image throughout the entire book (though it still applies). It is easy to read but challenging and stretching in its content. While it is not the most academic book, it has very tangible application in life and in ministry. I would definitely recommend this, especially to someone looking to step out of their normal cultural context.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Drick

    I am planning to use this book in my courses on the theology of poverty and urban theology classes. he takes the ordinary everyday things of life and encourages us to think of the grace of God and the challenges of God to a local community. He starts his theological reflection by what is going in a community or a situation, rather than starting with Scripture and trying to make it fit. My only frustration with the book was that his numerous illustrations largely came from pastoral or church work I am planning to use this book in my courses on the theology of poverty and urban theology classes. he takes the ordinary everyday things of life and encourages us to think of the grace of God and the challenges of God to a local community. He starts his theological reflection by what is going in a community or a situation, rather than starting with Scripture and trying to make it fit. My only frustration with the book was that his numerous illustrations largely came from pastoral or church workers, rather than everyday people. However it fits well with my concept of "street theology

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Sedmak presents 50 theses to shape an approach to doing local theology. I found some difficulty applying it to my setting because of its solidly Christian approach (the author is Catholic), but it provided some direction for considering the ways in which context directly affects the needs of a group of people, and therefore, appropriate theology. This text seemed to go hand-in-hand with the approach that Green took in Let's Do Theology, which I read last semester. Sedmak presents 50 theses to shape an approach to doing local theology. I found some difficulty applying it to my setting because of its solidly Christian approach (the author is Catholic), but it provided some direction for considering the ways in which context directly affects the needs of a group of people, and therefore, appropriate theology. This text seemed to go hand-in-hand with the approach that Green took in Let's Do Theology, which I read last semester.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This goes to my shortlist of favorites on the subject of culture, theology, mission, and ministry.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Russeller

    Great practical theology. 50 thesis that put it all into context.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Watkins

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Moyer

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

  10. 4 out of 5

    Austin Hill

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Shepard-kiser

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Tijerina

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jann Cather

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adriane

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ken Burcham

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Davis

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pmsista PMSista

  19. 5 out of 5

    kylesears

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lamming

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate Meyrick

  22. 4 out of 5

    Clint Walker

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  24. 4 out of 5

    April Kelly

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Reyes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike Frazier

  28. 4 out of 5

    Klinsmann

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eiro

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...