The New Christians

The New Christians


Can Theology Transform the Church?

posted by Tony Jones

Yes. Theologian-Scientist-Believer Philip Clayton answers that question, and has some hard words for pastors.  He and I tend to agree that theology is latent in all human endeavors (see chapter 4, “The Theology, Stupid!”).



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Gary Lee Parker

posted February 10, 2009 at 2:47 pm


As I listened to Dr. Philip Clayton’s comments, I realize that too often the dumbing up our Public Schools has affected how pastors view their congregation thinking that they are too busy to seek the truth through Scripture and how Scripture is lived out in the community. such questions are put off such as How does the inclusion of people who are different from you are able to contribute to God’s Kingdom with their abilities rather than looking at their disabilities first? If pastors and congregants say they are too busy, what are they too busy doing what? How does being in Jesus comes first over doing for Jesus? Whatever happened to listening intently and responding or not responding appropriately while being more inclusive as Jesus was and is inclusive?



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Brian

posted February 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm


The Transforming Theology group seems to trying to set up a conversation between “formal” theologians (PhDs) and “informal” theologians (non-PhDs). This group’s project is exciting because for far too long there has been a gap – perhaps more accurately, a great chasm – between the theologies in seminaries and the theologies in local congregations. Seminaries are pressed to be progressive, academic, ethereal, etc. Congregations are pressed to be theologically conservative, folksy, practical, etc. Sadly, the implication is that the formal theology done in seminaries is “real” theology whereas the informal theology done in congregations is “superficial” theology. Thus, the gap between congregations and seminaries continues to grow.
Thankfully many people have discussed this issue. John B. Cobb has suggested that we need a re-vitalization in lay theology in his book “Reclaiming The Church.” Christian education resources, such as the video series “Living The Questions,” attempt to strengthen the theology of laypeople by exposing them to a variety of different theologies. So the good news is that the chasm between seminaries and congregations is beginning to be bridged. Hopefully the conversation that is happening through the Transforming Theology project will help with this project as it seeks to bring the two “sides” together for a mutually transformative dialogue.
We all need to become more accountable to/for/with each other when it comes to theological development.



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Brian

posted February 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm


Why does Tony Jones publish books and blogs while Average Pastor doesn’t? It seems to me that they both have things to teach each other.
When will more books and blogs come from lower class contexts? It seems to me that there would be much to learn.
Where are the books and blogs from/about rural ministry/theology? According to recent reports (such as the latest in Time magazine), rural pastors and congregations are hurting very much.
How can theology be transformative in rural contexts where there is often an anti-intellectual? Something needs to change.
How can theology be transformative in seminaries where there is often an anti-practical spirit? Something needs to change.



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