The return of the congregation to theological education.
The role of the Bible in the life of congregations.
The role of congregations living in their particular contexts as public moral companions
Congregational Studies Research Team (CRST) Mission Statement
“We are a theological learning organization in direct partnership with congregations, church leaders, and teachers. In concert with the Spirit of God, this partnership seeks to build up and empower congregations for mission by engaging with them in a process of conversation and action involving spiritual discernment and theological reflection about the necessary behaviors, skills, beliefs, and knowledge base for faithfully and effectively bringing people to a public identity in Christ.”1read more
This post is an experiment in using the raw data from our Deep in the Burbs Research Team. This is a verbatim transcript of a conversation the team had at the end of our seventh team meeting. We spent at least 45 minutes in each session in a group spiritual practice called Dwelling in the Word. We spent three weeks on John 14:15-24, three weeks on John 15:1-17, and one week on John 16:5-15.
The names have been changed to protect the anonymity of the group. Mine is still labeled “Steve” so you can see how I interacted with the group.read more
I found a connection to Phenomenology and Dwelling in the Word through Dallas Willard and Ken Reynhout. I had lunch with Ken yesterday and I described Dwelling in the Word to him. He smiled, and, knowing Keifert’s basis in phenomenology, saw the connection immediately.
This morning I was reviewing my resources in Scrivener and was immediately drawn to Willard’s Chapter Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Phenomenology from the book on phenomenology and counseling, (Paul Bloland, ed.) Willard provides a helpful overview of Husserl’s Phenomenology and then connects it to counseling. He says,read more
This Prezi attempts to capture the “what” of the Deep in the Burbs Project. I drew this sketch today in order to organize my thoughts and decipher the focus of my writing. I could go in so many directions with this project!
Some initial observations:
This project is about the intersection of the abstract theological construction of Trinity and the lived experience of Trinity. There is a synaptic ignition that takes place when these two boxes connect.
This project is about the troublesome word impact. How does a spiritual leader in a local congregation introduce a new idea to people without inflicting violent colonizing effects?
This project is about how the process of Participatory Action Research (PAR) itself is both (a) an answer to the question posed in #2, and (b) a possible model for missional church leadership and spiritual formation as the experience of collaborative and participatory discernment and movement in and with Trinity.
This project is about how spiritual formation is a mixture of personal, internal connection with God and communal, external, social action with God. It is not an either/or dichotomy of the two modes of spirituality.
Further elaboration on the above points:
A great deal of literature exists regarding the danger of constructing abstract, systematic theological systems that attempt to explain God. This academic endeavor is, ultimately, the construction of an idol that differs little from Aaron’s construction of the Golden Calf at the base of Mt. Sinai. Yet, human beings have an experience of the divine in various ways, and, thus, need to discuss them in order to share them and make sense out of them. Language itself is an abstract construction, so, as soon as humans discuss their divine experience they run the risk of building an idol.read more