Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

from June 18, 2007
Book Notes: The Art of Theological Reflection, by Patricia O’Connell Killen and John deBeer

Let me just share a few sentences from the back cover: “Here is a book for the millions of Christians who want to make a vital connection between their faith and their lives. The authors describe theological reflection as ‘the artful discipline of putting our experience into conversation with the heritage of the Christian Tradition.’ Their practical book provides a way for all of us to experience greater meaning in life and a more tangible sense of God’s creative presence.”

This book is a great tool for any pastor and any leader of groups in the church, not to mention a good book for anyone who wants to learn how to reflect theologically on their life. The authors talk about the dangers of “certitude and self-assurance,” as attitudes that can hinder our ability to be open to what God might be saying or doing around us. They also give us concrete tools to use to think in new ways about the context in which we live, worship, and work.

They talk about feelings, experience, images, working with all three, and looking at them thru various lenses of scripture and tradition.

Chapters are:
1. Searching for a way to be faithful
2. The movement toward insight: The human process of coming to wisdom
3. Theology as a form of human reflection
4. Personal theological reflection
5. Guiding groups in theological reflection
6. Creating designs for theological reflection

The most practical application of the book is found in it’s examples of how to do theological reflection in ways where you don’t need a degree in theology, so it is accessible by everyone, and easily used in session or group settings.

The easily adaptable examples show you how to do both personal and group theological reflection on a question, life situation, story or tradition.

I have found this book to be very helpful in my own ministry, and I think many of you will too.

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