Tag Archives: Trinity

Deep in the Burbs Bibliography

Arens, Edmund. Christopraxis: A Theology of Action. 1st Fortress Press ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.

Barnes, Michael R. “Augustine in Contemporary Trinitarian Theology.” Theological Studies 56, no. 2 (1995): 237-250.

Baum, Fran, Colin MacDougall, and Danielle Smith. “Participatory Action Research.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 60, no. 10 (2006): 854-857.

Bennett, Marlyn. “A Review of the Literature on the Benefits and Drawbacks of Participatory Action Research.” First Peoples Child & Family Review 1, no.! (September 2004): 19-32.

Bevans, Stephen B., and Roger Schroeder. “Missiology after Bosch: Reverencing a Classic by Moving Beyond.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 29, no. 2 (2005): 69-72.

Black, Gary. The Theology of Dallas Willard: Discovering Protoevangelical Faith. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2013.

Bliese, Richard H., and Craig Van Gelder. The Evangelizing Church: A Lutheran Contribution. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2005.

Block, Peter. Community: The Structure of Belonging. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2008.

Bosch, David Jacobus. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. American Society of Missiology Series no 16. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991.

Brookfield, Stephen. Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995.

———. The Power of Critical Theory: Liberating Adult Learning and Teaching. 1st ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2005.

———. Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning: A Comprehensive Analysis of Principles and Effective Practices. The Jossey-Bass Higher Education Series. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1986.

Cameron, Helen, Deborah Bhatti, and Catherine Duce. Talking About God in Practice: Theological Action Research and Practical Theology. London: SCM Press, 2010.

Charmaz, Kathy. Constructing Grounded Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2006.

Coakley, Sarah. God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay ‘on the Trinity’. 2013.

Conde-Frazier, Elizabeth. “Participatory Action Research: Practical Theology for Social Justice.” Religious Education 101, no. 3 (2006): 321-329.

Conn, Walter E. Christian Conversion: A Developmental Interpretation of Autonomy and Surrender. New York: Paulist Press, 1986.

Davis, Dent C. “Dialogue of the Soul: The Phenomenon of Intrapersonal Peace and the Adult Experience of Protestant Religious Education.” Religious Education 102, no. 4 (2007): 387-402.

Deshler, David, and Merrill Ewert. “Participatory Action Research: Traditions and Major Assumptions.” http://actmad.net/madness_library/POV/DESHLER.PAR (accessed March 20).

Dirkx, John M. “Images, Transformative Learning the Work of Soul.” Adult Learning 12, no. 3 (Summer2001 2001): 15.

ELCA. “Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”  (2011): 232 p.

Ellison, Pat Taylor, and Patrick Keifert. Dwelling in the Word. St. Paul: Church Innovations Institute, 2011.

Engelsviken, T. “Missio Dei: The Understanding and Misunderstanding of a Theological Concept in European Churches and Missiology.” International Review of Mission 92, no. 367 (2003): 481-497.

Farley, Edward. Practicing Gospel: Unconventional Thoughts on the Church’s Ministry. 1st ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003.

Fink, Ben. “Organized Ideas, or Defeating the Culture Wars (What We Need to Know, and How We Need to Know It).” PhD Dissertation, University of Minnesota, 2014.

Fishman, Robert. Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia. New York: Basic Books, 1987.

Flett, John G. The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei, Karl Barth, and the Nature of Christian Community. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2010.

Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline : The Path to Spiritual Growth. 20th anniversary ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998.

———. “Spiritual Formation Agenda: Richard Foster Shares His Three Priorities for the Next 30 Years.” Christianity Today 53, no. 1 (2009): 28-33.

Foster, Richard J., and Julia L. Roller. A Year with God: Living out the Spiritual Disciplines. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 30th anniversary ed. New York: Continuum, 2000.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. London: Sheed & Ward, 1975.

Garreau, Joel. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. 1st ed. New York: Doubleday, 1991.

Gorringe, Timothy. “Living toward a Vision: Cities, the Common Good, and the Christian Imagination.” Anglican Theological Review 91, no. 4 (2009): 521-537.

Grenz, Stanley J. Rediscovering the Triune God: The Trinity in Contemporary Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004.

Grenz, Stanley J., and John R. Franke. Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context. 1st ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

Grenz, Stanley J., and Roger E. Olson. Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Groome, Thomas H. Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry: The Way of Shared Praxis. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

Habermas, Jürgen. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures. Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987.

———. The Theory of Communicative Action. 2 vols. Boston: Beacon Press, 1984.

Hall, Budd L. “In from the Cold? Reflections on Participatory Research from 1970-2005.” Convergence 38, no. 1 (2005): 5-24.

Hatch, Mary Jo, and Ann L. Cunliffe. Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Hayden, Dolores. Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003.

Heifetz, Ronald A., and Martin Linsky. Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2002.

Hess, Mary E. “Collaborating with People to Study “the Popular”: Implementing Participatory Action Research Strategies in Religious Education.” Religious Education 96, no. 3 (2001): 271-293.

———. “Collaborating with People to Study “the Popular”: Implementing Participatory Action Research Strategies in Religious Education.” Religious Education 96, no. 3 (2001).

———. Engaging Technology in Theological Education: All That We Can’t Leave Behind. Communication, Culture, and Religion Series. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.

———. “Pedagogy and Theology in Cyberspace: All That We Cant Leave Behind.” Teaching Theology & Religion 5, no. 1 (2002).

———. “What Difference Does It Make? E-Learning and Faith Community.” Word & World 30, no. 3 (2010): 281-290.

Horsfield, Peter G., Mary E. Hess, and Adán M. Medrano, eds. Belief in Media: Cultural Perspectives on Media and Christianity. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004.

Hunsberger, George R., and Craig Van Gelder, eds. The Church between Gospel and Culture: The Emerging Mission in North America. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1996.

Hunter, James Davison. To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Jennings, Willie James. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

Jenson, Robert W. Systematic Theology. 2 vols. Vol. 1. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

———. The Triune Identity: God According to the Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982.

Kegan, Robert. The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.

———. In over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Kegan, Robert, and Lisa Laskow Lahey. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. Leadership for the Common Good. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2009.

Keifert, Patrick R. Testing the Spirits: How Theology Informs the Study of Congregations. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2009.

———. “The Trinity and Congregational Planning: Between Historical Minimum and Eschatological Maximum.” Word & World 18, no. 3 (1998): 282-290.

———. We Are Here Now: A New Missional Era, a Missional Journey of Spiritual Discovery. Eagle, ID: Allelon Publishing, 2006.

———. Welcoming the Stranger: A Public Theology of Worship and Evangelism. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.

Kelsey, David H. To Understand God Truly: What’s Theological About a Theological School. 1st ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.

Knowles, Malcolm S., Elwood F. Holton, and Richard A. Swanson. The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development. 7th ed. Boston: Elsevier, 2011.

Martin, Bruce. “Transforming a Local Church Congregation through Action Research.” Educational Action Research 9, no. 2 (2001/06/01 2001): 261-278.

Mead, George Herbert, and Charles W. Morris. Mind, Self & Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Chicago, Ill.,: The University of Chicago press, 1934.

Melancthon, Philip. The Augsburg Confession. Edited by F. Bente and W.H.T. Dau. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921. .pdf.

Merriam, Sharan B., Rosemary S. Caffarella, and Lisa Baumgartner. Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007.

Mitchell, Jolyon P. Media Violence and Christian Ethics. New Studies in Christian Ethics 30. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Moltmann, Jürgen. The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God. 1st HarperCollins paperback ed. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

Newbigin, Lesslie. Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1986.

———. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans; WCC Publications 1989.

Norton, Christine Lynn, Amy Russell, Betsy Wisner, and John Uriarte. “Reflective Teaching in Social Work Education: Findings from a Participatory Action Research Study.” Social Work Education 30, no. 4 (2011): 392-407.

Orfield, Myron. Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability. Cambridge, MA: Brookings Institution Press; Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1997.

Palmer, Parker J. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. 10th anniversary ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2007.

———. To Know as We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey. 1st HarperCollins pbk ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991.

Placher, William C. The Triune God: An Essay in Postliberal Theology. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007.

Platt, David. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. 1st ed. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2010.

Polkinghorne, J. C. The Trinity and an Entangled World: Relationality in Physical Science and Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub., 2010.

Powell, Samuel M. Participating in God: Creation and Trinity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.

Reynhout, Kenneth A. Interdisciplinary Interpretation: Paul Ricoeur and the Hermeneutics of Theology and Science. text.

Roxburgh, Alan J. Missional Map-Making: Skills for Leading in Times of Transition. Leadership Network. 1st ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

Scandrette, Mark. Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2011.

Scharer, Matthias Hilberath Bernd Jochen. The Practice of Communicative Theology: Introduction to a New Theological Culture. New York: Crossroad Pub. CO, 2008.

Schneiders, Sandra M. “A Hermeneutical Approach to the Study of Christian Spirituality.” In Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality, edited by Elizabeth Dreyer and Mark S. Burrows. Balitmore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

———. “The Study of Christian Spirituality: Contours and Dynamics of a Discipline.” In Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality, edited by Elizabeth Dreyer and Mark S. Burrows. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

Schüssler Fiorenza, Elisabeth. Democratizing Biblical Studies: Toward an Emancipatory Educational Space. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.

Sheldrake, Philip. “Christian Spirituality as a Way of Living Publicly: A Dialectic of the Mystical and Prophetic.” In Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality, edited by Elizabeth Dreyer and Mark S. Burrows. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

———. Spirituality and Theology: Christian Living and the Doctrine of God. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998.

Shults, F. LeRon. The Postfoundationalist Task of Theology: Wolfhart Pannenberg and the New Theological Rationality. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1999.

Simmons, Ernest L. The Entangled Trinity: Quantum Physics and Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.

Simpson, Gary M. Critical Social Theory: Prophetic Reason, Civil Society, and Christian Imagination. Guides to Theological Inquiry. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002.

———. “No Trinity, No Mission: The Apostolic Difference of Revisioning the Trinity.” Word & World 18, no. 3 (1998): 264-271.

Stoecker, Randy. “Are Academics Irrelevant? Roles for Scholars in Participatory Research.” In American Sociologcial Society Annual Meeting, 1997.

Tanner, Kathryn. Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology. Guides to Theological Inquiry. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.

Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.

Teaford, Jon C. The American Suburb: The Basics. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Thomason, Steven P. “Thketch of Kegan’s Five Orders.” 13:09, 2012.

Tisdell, Elizabeth J. Exploring Spirituality and Culture in Adult and Higher Education. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Van Gelder, Craig. “Effects of Auto-Mobility on Church Life and Culture.” Word & World 28, no. 3 (2008): 237-249.

———. The Essence of the Church: A Community Created by the Spirit. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000.

———. The Ministry of the Missional Church: A Community Led by the Spirit. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007.

Van Gelder, Craig, and Dwight J. Zscheile. The Missional Church in Perspective: Mapping Trends and Shaping the Conversation. The Missional Network. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011.

Vella, Jane Kathryn. Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. Rev. ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002.

Volf, Miroslav. After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity. Sacra Doctrina. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1998.

Wallis, Allan D. “Filling the Governance Gap.” National Civic Review 87, no. 1 (1998).

Welker, Michael. God the Spirit. 1st English-language ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994.

Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002.

Wuthnow, Robert. After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Zizioulas, Jean, and Paul McPartlan. Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church. New York: T & T Clark, 2006.

A Brief Summary of the Social Trinity Conversation

My use of social/relational draws most heavily on relational ontology as presented by Zizioulas.[1] To summarize, Zizioulas proposes that humanity, both as particulars and collectively, has the imago dei of the robust Trinity[2] imprinted on/in us ontologically. The image of the relational Trinity is this: God is three-in-one and one-in-three. God is transcendent, immanent, and relational. God’s transcendence is the immanent Trinity that is constituted by relationality. This relational union is wholly other from its creation. God is also immanent in the economic Trinity. The Father is arche, the Son incarnate is the demonstration of God’s love and the great victor over death.[3] The Spirit is the animator and mediator of life and relationality. God is also relationality that constitutes all being and out of which human particularity is formed. Humanity is created in the imago dei. We are homologues of the robust Trinity described above.[4] We are many-and-one and one-and-many. We are individual selves constituted by the relatedness to each other, to nature, and to God, the transcendent other.

Relational ontology connects to the theoretical lens of Robert Kegan’s fifth order of consciousness.[5] The social/relational Trinity is connected, not only to theological language, but to ideas about and formation of the human self-in-relation to the other.[6] Zizioulas proposes that it is not only our eschatological hope that is connected to the social Trinity, but it is our very essence, our ontological essence, that is constituted by the relationality of the persons of the Godhead.[7] The use of communicative action as the research methodology in this project assumes that the congregations might discover the reality of their interdependence with the other, both within the congregation and within the suburban and metropolitan community as a whole.

Footnotes

[1] Zizioulas and McPartlan, Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church.

[2] I have introduced the term robust into the conversation. This is Shults’ term to distinguish the relationality and futurity of God from the transcendent/Immanent Trinity.

[3] I will agree with Volf and not go so far as Zizioulas to warrant patriarchal authority in the church based upon the arche. Volf, bringing Moltmann into conversation with Zizioulas, calls for an egalitarian power structure based upon a flattened perichoretic power structure. Miroslav Volf, After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity, Sacra Doctrina (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1998).

[4] I am intentionally hinting at the Augustinian use of “vestiges of God.” A fascinating sub-conversation within the larger Trinitarian conversation is that of Augustine’s culpability for the demise of the Economic Trinity in the modern West. LaCugna blames him for the problem. Barnes disagrees and notes that LaCugna’s argument is built upon a resurgence of de Regnon’s claim in the 19th century, which, Barnes argues, is unfounded. I agree with Barnes and follow Sheldrake’s assessment that Augustine understood relational ontology inherently, since he did not breath the air of Cartesian dualism. Michael R. Barnes, “Augustine in Contemporary Trinitarian Theology,” Theological Studies 56, no. 2 (1995); Philip Sheldrake, Spirituality and Theology: Christian Living and the Doctrine of God (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998), 75-83.

[5] See chapter two.

[6] Both Groome and Farley emphasize this as essential to the practice of formation in the congregation and in any theological inquiry. Groome names the individual as agent-subjects-in-relationship. Farley names it as being-together in the reciprocity sphere. Groome, Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry: The Way of Shared Praxis, 9; Edward Farley, Practicing Gospel: Unconventional Thoughts on the Church’s Ministry, 1st ed. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 68.

[7] Eschatological hope is central to the historicity/futurity grouping that Grenz noted: Moltmann, Pannenberg, and Jenson. Zizioulas does not deny this dimension, but simply emphasizes the ontological aspect of this Trinitarian conversation. Here, too, I argue that we must abandon substance dualism in light of relationality and entanglement.

The Trinity: Reframing the Model

What then, is the alternate model that I proposed to the RT? I named this model the social Trinity in the research question. It was my attempt to present a model that was true to the contemporary conversation about the Trinity. Western theologians have wrestled with the Trinity question throughout the twentieth century. Stanley Grenz offers a helpful schematic to map the landscape of this conversation. He articulates three major types of Trinitarian thought in the twentieth century: (1) those emphasizing the historicity and futurity of God—Moltmann, Pannenberg, Jenson; (2) those emphasizing the relationality of God—Boff, LaCugna, Zizioulas; and, (3) those emphasizing the transcendence, or otherness of God—Johnson, Urs von Balthasar, Torrance.[1]

Grenz-Rediscovering-Trinity

Figure 11. A Visual Representation of the Trinity Conversation

Each of these theologians contributes important aspects to the conversation. The term social Trinity, however, is most readily associated with Moltmann and Volf. I must confess that my language has changed since the initial crafting of this research question. I no longer find the term social to be the most helpful label for this model of the Trinity. This became apparent to me early on in the research project. The first indication came when I had the initial meetings with my pastoral contacts in the congregations. Whenever I got to the term social Trinity I could tell that there was pensive hesitation. They shuffled in theirs seats, and eventually asked the awkward question, “What do you mean by social Trinity?” This was a helpful experience for two reasons. First, it affirmed my assumption that the terminology was not commonplace, even among clergy. Second, upon further conversation, I realized that the term social was a trigger associated with one of two prejudices. One prejudice was the immediate association with the term social Gospel that harkens back to the liberal/fundamentalist schism of the early twentieth century. The other prejudice was the immediate association with the issue of social justice which signals work projects and activist movements.

I found myself immediately using the terms relational and relationships in order to explain the meaning of the social Trinity. One pastor suggested that I simply change the question to read “the relational Trinity.” This was a valid suggestion, but I opted to leave the language as it is because it is associated with a certain body of theological literature, whereas the term relational Trinity is not as widely used.

Footnotes

[1] Stanley J. Grenz, Rediscovering the Triune God: The Trinity in Contemporary Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).

Hope in the Trinitarian Community

Postfoundational theology is a story of hope. Hope has a future orientation. It invites us to look forward with anticipation and imagination. Proverbs tells us that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). Spiritual formation in the missional church is a hopeful endeavor. The DITB project is one of a public prophetic imagination of hope in God’s preferred and promised future.[1] This is a countercultural move. Taylor suggests that the modern, buffered self has lost this hope.[2] The modern schism between fact/value, public/private, and science/faith has collapsed our public sense of identity to radical individualism, the loss of meaning and purpose, and the reduction of life to that of utilitarian transactions for the sole purpose of individual survival. The modern self is left in isolation and with no ultimate hope.

The hope of the world rests in the Triune God. Kiefert argues that the church has lost hope because it has lost its connection to the life of God.[3] The Trinity is the life of the world. The Triune God is the ground of being-in-time, moving the world in the past, present, that is a hope of a preferred and promised future.[4] God is not a timeless, transcendent being that is separate from the created universe. Nor is God the animating, non-personal life energy that is completely synonymous with the universe. God is the relationality of the Triune persons from which we realize that all people—and all things—are interdependently entangled.[5]

I will explore this more closely in the Trinity Frame. For now, it is enough to agree with Keifert that the church exists in the life of God and “is a being in communion within the history of God that is drawn into a promised future, coherent with, but not fully available to us, in the fate and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.”[6] The church is invited to dream God’s dream and to live into the hope within it. Gorringe says, “that everything that we do as Christians, including our politics and our fashioning of the world, should be shaped by that hope.”[7] This creative frame is not a subjective romanticism or the whimsy of the idealistic artist, but it is a public imagination. Simpson argues that

As prophetic public companions, missional congregations acknowledge a conviction that they participate in God’s ongoing creative work. In a communicative civil society, these congregations exhibit a compassionate commitment to other institutions and their moral predicaments and to contesting the systemic colonization of the lifeworld. In these two senses, congregations as communicatively prophetic public companions are thoroughly connected, both to God and to the social and natural world. This vocational conviction and commitment yields a critical and self-critical, and thus fully communicative, practice of prophetic engagement. Finally, as communicatively prophetic public companions, congregations participate with other institutions of communicative civil society to create, strengthen, and sustain the moral fabrics that fashion a life-giving and life-accountable world.”[8]

The Deep in the Burbs Research Team came together to dream. I invited them to be open to explore new ideas about God (the social Trinity) and imagine new ways of engaging in the practices of spiritual formation. Dreaming is a struggle and the team experienced the agony and ecstasy that always accompanies the process of renegotiating boundaries of identity to be able to welcome the other. The specific stories that I will share in chapter five will give granular texture to this rich story of a group of suburbanites who were willing to say, what if?

Footnotes

[1] This statement merges Simpson’s prophetic public companion with Keifert’s preferred and promised future.

[2] Taylor argues that pre-modern Western culture and most non-Western cultures understand the self to have porous boundaries. In other words, the human self understands that it is not an isolated, atomistic substance, separate from all other substances—human or otherwise—in the universe. Rather, the porous self recognizes that it is interconnected and interdependent with the world—both physical and spiritual, seen and unseen. Taylor calls this the enchanted world of the porous self. Taylor further argues that the rise of rationalism in the Enlightenment project of Western Europe in the sixteen and seventeenth centuries denounced the porous self and gave rise to the buffered self. The modern Western “enlightened” self functions within the perspective of Cartesian dualism and understands that the only acceptable form of knowledge comes from the acquisition of scientific information through the process of empirical observation. The only thing that actually exists is that which can be observed with human senses and explained by human reason. Anything else is ignored as superstition and relegated to the private sector or disregarded altogether. Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007).

[3] I will discuss this premise in the Epistemological Considerations section of the Adult Learning Frame. See Gary M. Simpson, “No Trinity, No Mission: The Apostolic Difference of Revisioning the Trinity,” Word & World 18, no. 3 (1998); Simpson, Critical Social Theory: Prophetic Reason, Civil Society, and Christian Imagination; Keifert, Welcoming the Stranger: A Public Theology of Worship and Evangelism; Patrick R. Keifert, “The Trinity and Congregational Planning: Between Historical Minimum and Eschatological Maximum,” Word & World 18, no. 3 (1998); Keifert, We Are Here Now: A New Missional Era, a Missional Journey of Spiritual Discovery; Keifert, Testing the Spirits: How Theology Informs the Study of Congregations.

[4] I will explore this more fully in the Trinity Frame. For now I will acknowledge that this language of being-in-time and God-as-history draws upon Robert Jenson’s understanding of the Trinity framed in Heideggarian and Hegelian thought. Kiefert connects this to the life and hope of the congregation. Keifert, “The Trinity and Congregational Planning: Between Historical Minimum and Eschatological Maximum.”

[5] I define my use of the term entangled in the Trinity frame in chapter three.

[6] Keifert, “The Trinity and Congregational Planning: Between Historical Minimum and Eschatological Maximum,” 288.

[7] Timothy Gorringe, “Living toward a Vision: Cities, the Common Good, and the Christian Imagination,” Anglican Theological Review 91, no. 4 (2009): 523-524.

[8] Simpson, Critical Social Theory: Prophetic Reason, Civil Society, and Christian Imagination, 144-145.