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Training Theological Reflectors to Facilitate Ordinary Theology in Churches

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This paper argues that there are good reasons why church and academy need better to hear and take account of the ordinary theology (hereafter O.Th) of practising Christians. It is an important form of practical theology which not only can inform current theological debates and even challenge existing theological norms, but also provide deep learning experiences both for ordinary theologians and those ministering to them. To facilitate the articulation of O.Th, trained theological reflectors are needed who can listen to ordinary Christian people with a ‘theological ear’ and become ‘people’s theologians’. Also needed is a workable model for small-scale research into O.Th. Empirical research into O.Th has hitherto been undertaken by the application of significant resource, either by an individual researcher (often the doctoral thesis) or a team. Such resource-intensive endeavour has provided important data on various aspects of O.Th, and has put O.Th firmly on the research map. However, there is a clear need for O.Th research to become something which can be more easily undertaken by ministers and others in roles of pastoral responsibility and theological education. A research model based on an expanded pastoral cycle makes this possible.

Affiliations: 1: Coast Congregational Church, 21 Kenilworth Road, Whitley Bay, ne25 8be, UK,


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