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Rethinking Faith

A Constructive Practical Theology

By James Hewton Poling

Publication Year: 2011

What can practical theology contribute to other theological disciplines and the church about the nature of God and the church's witness to Jesus Christ in the world? What can we learn about the love and power of God in Jesus Christ from the community of survivors of violence? Rethinking Faith urges all Christians to consider themselves practical theologians by drawing on their own experiences in making theological assertions. Poling couples his understanding of the tradition with his work with survivors of violence to demonstrate the resilience of Christianity.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-3

Contents

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pp. iii-iv

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Acknowledgments

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pp. v-vi

How can I give credit to the people who have influenced me over forty years of ministry? I must begin with my parents, Newton and Virginia Poling, my wife, Nancy Werking Poling, and my children, Christie and Nathan, my in-laws, and my six grandchildren from whom I have learned a lot about life. Nancy, especially, has been my best critic, my ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

What is the nature of God as revealed in the communities that follow Jesus Christ and what practices best express faith in God? This is a question of practical theology. In this book, I respond to this question (1) Practical theology and the nature of God; (2) Christian life and the nature of God; and (3) Surviving violence and the nature of God. ...

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A Personal Creed

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pp. 9-10

I believe in God. I believe that the love and power of God, as revealed by Scripture, tradition, and religious experience, are best described as relational, ambiguous, and resilient. God is radically relational with the world. I understand relationality between God and the world as a process of interaction characterized by asymmetrical mutuality. God and ...

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1: The Forming God

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pp. 11-28

I believe in God. I believe that the love and power of God, as revealed by Scripture, tradition, and religious experience, are best described as relational, ambiguous, and resilient. God is radically relational with the world. I understand relationality between God and the world as a process of interaction characterized by asymmetrical mutuality. ...

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2: The Reality of Evil and Sin

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pp. 29-42

Human beings are made in the image of God as loving and powerful. God calls humanity to exercise power in loving ways to advance the creative purposes of God. However, the history of human life shows that humans distort the image of God in their hearts and create institutions and ideologies that promote destruction of bodies, persons, and ...

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3: Christology and the Question of Salvation

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pp. 43-56

The problem of evil leads to the question of salvation: What cooperative work of God and humans will rescue the world from self-destruction The plot of the Christian narrative I am describing is this: God’s intentions for humanity and the world are good, but these intentions are thwarted by human sin that has evolved into evil embedded in insti-...

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4: Constructing a Process Christology

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pp. 57-76

I believe in Jesus Christ, a divine and human being, who fully embod-ies the reality of God and humanity and discloses for humans both the character of God and the character of human life in the world. In the Scriptures, we see Jesus as a human being with extraordinary love and sensitivity for the full web of human and natural life. Because his ...

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5: Faithful Churches Empowered by the Holy Spirit

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pp. 77-82

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who provides everyday empowerment for the world. The Spirit strengthens the resilience of human beings in the midst of the complex relationships and the moral ambiguity of daily life. The Holy Spirit redeems human and natural life. I believe the church is called to be the body ...

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6: Eschatology: Theologies of Hope

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pp. 83-112

I believe in the eschaton, the telos of God’s love and power, as an image of a harmonious community of peace and prosperity for all human and nonhuman beings including the material world. The ritual saying, “Christ will come again,” means that all creation groans for the beloved community that God intends. Jesus comes through the Spirit ...

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7: Congregational Practices of Hope

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pp. 113-126

Practical theology begins with a study of Christian practices. In this project, I have looked specifically at the stories of Linda, Philip, and other survivors of family violence, and shared some of my own religious experiences. I have developed constructive theologies about God, sin and evil, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, church, and eschatology. In each of ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 127-136

I recently read a story by a woman who lost her faith in God after her younger brother died as a young adult. She could not reconcile this tragic loss with her image of God as all-powerful and all-knowing. She went for several years in a confused religious state, worrying about how she would pull through. In a class on creating a sustainable environment from the ...

Appendix 1: Methods of Practical Theology for Congregations and Church Leaders

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pp. 137-148

Appendix 2: Methods of Practical Theology for Teachers and Scholars

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pp. 149-170

Notes

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pp. 171-188

Scripture Index

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pp. 189-193


E-ISBN-13: 9781451410624
E-ISBN-10: 145141062X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800697549
Print-ISBN-10: 0800697545

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2011