Sunday, February 10, 2013
Aberdeen practical theology
I’m flying up to Aberdeen today. It will be nice to be back, after being based there for three months in 2001, in my last UK sabbatical, working on my PhD. It’s only a flying visit.
I am presenting at a Research seminar on Practical Theology on Monday. I will use the opportunity to explore some of an initial chapter I am writing, introducing practical theology, linking it with ecclesiology and ethnography and outlining how I proceed in my study of emerging churches. I sort of like the mix involved when last week I am leading worship with pioneer leaders and with the mission shaped ministry board, and this week presenting at post-graduate seminars.
Last time I presented in Aberdeen (2003) the result was a journal article – “Doing practical research downunder: a methodological reflection on recent trends in Aberdonian practical theology,” Contact 142, 1 (2003): 2-21. I doubt that will happen again, but who knows.
I said yes because presenting ideas to post-graduate students is a great way to test them. In this case I want to try out a few ideas, including the Mary and Elizabeth story in Luke 1 as a way to appreciate the doing of practical theology, in particular as a study of embodiment. This includes two art works – The Visitation by Rogier Van Der Weyden and The Visitation Icon. I also want to outline the place of anecdote and story in constructing our ecclesiologies and get some feedback.
I tend to find that talking my ideas out, both in presentation and during question and answer, is a very helpful experience – part of my aural learning preference! Plus catching up with John Swinton and doing an interview with Paul Thomson, who pioneered the Club Culture Project in Edinburgh back in the day!