i am at a conference in seoul for the international association for mission studies. the theme being explored is conversion and transformation and there are around 130 papers! it's pretty full on but really interesting so far... this afternoon cathy ross and i are presenting a paper on theological homelessness. here's the opening spiel..
In 2010 the Church Mission Society (CMS) began Pioneer Mission Leadership Training aimed at those “who are engaged in doing something new or different with a motivation routed in mission.” Since then, our experience with training pioneer leaders, who are developing mission projects and communities in new contexts, is that the paradigms within which they have learned and understood theology have not equipped them well. One striking metaphor that is quite commonly expressed is that they feel like the rug is pulled from under their feet, sometimes leaving them destabilized, unsteady and wondering what happens next. Then the students begin to move from a world where theology is a content to be downloaded, learned and imparted - and perhaps defended - to a world where theology is more like a process with which the community engages together. This shift is challenging but opens up new horizons for the way we all conceive of theology in practice. We have come to think of this process as a kind of theological homelessness that needs to be experienced in order to find a new way home. This paper will be based on observations from overseeing training pathways, teaching and learning theology together with the students over the last 6 years, as well as on interviews with students. We will intersperse the body of the paper with direct quotations from them to allow the students’ voices to be heard.
i particularly like the thought we are naming of undefended theology. anyway we'll see how it goes!