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Thinking Theologically

Thinking Theologically

Eric D. Barreto editor
Copyright Date: 2015
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  • Book Info
    Thinking Theologically
    Book Description:

    We are constantly engaged in processing data and sensory inputs all around us, even when we are not conscious of the many neural pathways our minds are traveling. So taking a step back to ponder the dimensions and practices of a particular way of thinking is a challenge. Even more important, however, is cultivating the habits of mind necessary in a life of ministry. This book, therefore, will grapple with the particular ways that the theological disciplines invite students to think but also the ways in which thinking theologically shapes a student’s sense of self and his or her role in a wider community of belief and thought. Thinking theologically is not just a cerebral matter; thinking theologically invokes an embodied set of practices and values that shape individuals and communities alike. Thinking theologically demands both intellect and emotion, logic and compassion, mind and body. In fact, this book—as part of the Foundations for Learning series—will contend that these binaries are actually integrated wholes, not mutually exclusive options.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-9421-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Eric D. Barreto

    My five-year-old daughter helped me think about thinking recently.

    I was editing the essays found in this book when she insisted on collaborating on a new book together. How could I say no? So we gathered all the necessary supplies and got to work. She set about designing a cover. She needed a little bit of help writing out the book’s title:Thinking Book. When the time came to illustrate the cover, she was a bit stumped. I encouraged her to draw a picture of someone thinking. Still flummoxed, she eventually concluded, “We’re thinking about thinking. That’s hard.” She was...

  5. 1 Thinking Mindfully
    (pp. 7-22)
    Jennifer M. Shepherd

    In January 2011, mall surveillance cameras captured video of Cathy Cruz Marrero falling into the mall’s main water fountain as she was walking and texting. It was a funny video, people laughed, and it brought to our attention the dangers of walking and texting. Ms. Marrero’s accident could have happened to anyone, and even though her embarrassment led her to contemplate a lawsuit against the person responsible for posting the video online, she admitted she had learned a lesson when interviewed by NBC’s George Stephanopoulos onGood Morning America

    Stephanopoulos: And, Cathy, I know that you—as embarrassed as you...

  6. 2 Thinking Bodily
    (pp. 23-34)
    Lance J. Peeler

    Too often when we think about thinking, we think only about our brains. But that is only part of the story.

    Brains are not some abstract reality, floating in nothing. They are not purely analytical machines (a common trope in science fiction, from C. S. Lewis’sThat Hideous Strengthto the Star Trek episode “Spock’s Brain,” to the French filmThe City of Lost Children, and many others). Rather, brains are housed within bodies. These bodies affect how brains function and think, and more than just in the way bodies sustain them. Sure, bodies need food, water, rest, exercise, sunshine,...

  7. 3 Thinking Pastorally
    (pp. 35-50)
    Jessicah Krey Duckworth

    When our high school would let out early, my friends and I would walk nearly a mile straight down Seventeenth Street into Center City Philadelphia to hang out for the afternoon. On occasion, we’d catch a regional rail line one stop away to the mall and spend our babysitting money on hair clips and chocolate. More often, though, we’d hang out at the food court in the transportation hub, mingling with the downtown professionals and shop clerks on their lunch break. After a few hours of carefree leisure, my friends and I would hop on our designated trains, subways, and...

  8. 4 Thinking Biblically
    (pp. 51-62)
    Mariam J. Kamell

    Caricatures of Christianity are all too prevalent within and without the church. Sometimes, these caricatures are deserved. For instance, charges of hypocrisy can hit a bit too close to home when our practices fall short of our beliefs. Other times, these caricatures bear little resemblance to the actual practices of actual Christians.

    And yet even among those claiming to be followers of Jesus, there is a wide diversity of familiarity with the ancient narrative to which we claim to belong. Unfortunately, biblical illiteracy is rampant in our churches. Some of us may know quite a number of select Bible verses,...

  9. 5 Thinking Historically
    (pp. 63-78)
    Adam Ployd

    By the time I went to college, I had seen enough Discovery Channel specials to know what Christian history looked like: a distortion of the pristine teachings of Jesus through two thousand years of oppressive patriarchal conspiracies best narrated by a deep voice speaking over ominous, foreboding music. So I majored in religion, intending to deconstruct the naïve Christianity with which I was raised. In my biblical classes, I exulted in discovering inconsistencies in the Gospels and promoting the “original” meaning of biblical texts over the “misinterpretations” of later tradition. The past was a problem, and I was going to...

  10. 6 Thinking Systematically
    (pp. 79-94)
    Amy Marga

    There are no bystanders to God’s self-revelation.

    This is the first premise of thinking systematically. Those who feel compelled to begin the intense journey of talking about God in a coherent and rational way do so because they have experienced the living God. This divine presence in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit is so free, so undomesticated, so challenging that the people who encounter it have no choice but to work to make sense out of such an experience. They know that something happened.

    To be encountered by this one is to experience a new sense of yourself, your...

  11. 7 Thinking Ethically
    (pp. 95-106)
    Matilde Moros

    What does it mean to think ethically, from a Christian perspective? The answer is complicated and nuanced and often leaves people looking for a quick and easy list of guidelines. I have been teaching Christian ethics to seminary students for a few years now. Almost without exception, each time I introduce students to the study of ethics, they seem most interested in obtaining a list of precise rules and a clear description of what a good Christian is like. The list they are requesting is a morally binding, “what not to do” catalog, a concise set of guidelines by which...

  12. 8 Thinking Socially
    (pp. 107-118)
    Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder

    Cell phones and computers are the everyday companions of most of us, from the uber rich to the poor and struggling. Financial planners in China communicate with Wall Street moguls in less than a minute via text or e-mail. Students in South Africa can exchange educational ideas over video with peers in California because of the unfathomable speed of broadband and WiFi or radio signals. From hospitals to colleges, boardrooms to small huts in the middle of the desert, the span of the Internet is global and yet somehow still growing in influence

    Technology is so pervasive that nothing has...

  13. 9 Thinking Spiritually
    (pp. 119-134)
    Cláudio Carvalhaes

    How do we measure our spirituality? When is it that we can startthinking spiritually? Is it the Spirit that affects our thinking, or is it our thinking that defines our spirituality?

    At the heart of our spiritualities (note the plural use of the word; we will come back to this), we will find our bodies. It is in our bodies, in their possibilitiesandlimitations, that we think spiritually, experience meaning, and sense God in the wide array of our spiritualities. Our bodies carry the memories of our existence. Our memories record the cartography of the many movements of...

  14. More Thinking
    (pp. 135-136)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 137-142)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 143-143)