Was having lunch with a great friend yesterday and we were discussing, over a beer, the great struggle of many churches to be incarnational – to enflesh genuine “good news” at the level of the local, the ordinary and the everyday. I guess, for me anyway, there was an implicit critique with respect to the churches (local) inability to do good local theology; to take place, context, culture, history etc. seriously. Local theology is contextual theology.
Two books I’ve found helpful are:
Constructing Local Theologies (1985) by Robert J. Schreiter.
Let’s Do Contextual Theology: Resources for Contextual Theology (2009) by Laurie Green
It brought to mind this recent post from my Canadian blogging friend Len Hjalmarson, who highlights another book on the subject:
“…[Clemens] Sedmak writes, “There is a growing awareness that theology is not an instant product that we take from the shelf and put some (local) water in it in order to have an enjoyable drink. Theology is a specifically local adventure if it wants to be relevant for a particular culture. As Michael Amaladoss says ‘The flowering of local theology is a sign of the rootedness and maturity of a particular church.’ And also a sign of the rootedness and maturity of theologians…
…Maybe our theological imagination needs to look more like this [see diagram to the left]. The role of the particular setting where the church is in dialogue with the gospel has become larger than ever. This is because we are giving ear to marginalized voices; we are opening a wider ground for conversation, and listening to voices that are far away. We are recognizing that conditions have changed and culture has shifted — we have to listen anew in order to wrestle with questions that are new. So I propose a larger role for culture in this trialogue…
Doing Local Theology: A Guide for Artisans of a New Humanity. New York: Orbis Books, 2002. 182 pages.
Len’s complete post here.