Interfaith Approaches to Practical Theology
Daniel Schipani (firstname.lastname@example.org) and
Tabitha Walther (email@example.com)
We are interested in gathering names of colleagues doing interfaith research in practical theology; sharing work; and spreading news about related conferences, projects, and events. Please send information to Daniel Schipani and Tabitha Walther. Interested in a pre-meeting at Toronto 2013 conference? Let us know.
Current Research Projects of IAPT Members Related to Interfaith Issues and Practical Theology:
I received a grant from the ATS (Association of Theol. Schools in Canada and USA) to participate in the project, “Christian Hospitality and Pastoral Practices in a Multifaith Society”. My contribution to this ATS-sponsored project consists in applying my current collaborative research–“Multifaith Voices in Spiritual Care”–to the question of ministerial formation in multifaith social settings.My research includes input from colleagues representing seven traditions (Hindu, Buddhist, Aboriginal, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Humanist).
I am embarking on an intercontextual/interreligious reenvisioning of James and Evelyn Whitehead’s groundbreaking Method in Ministry. Their unique form of theological reflection, pioneering the practices of ministry as its central focus, quickly became a standard in innumerable D.Min., M.Div. and even Ph.D. programs in practical theology in the US and beyond. Nonetheless, their well lauded work is clearly a product of a modernistic world view that is more ecumenical than interreligious, more defined by culture than context, and inclined to privilege homogeneity rather than respect hybridity. Over the past 20+ years I have taught the methods of practical theology to students from every inhabitable continent and across a wide spectrum of religious perspectives (including Muslims). A methodological vernacular I have employed engages conversation partners of experience, culture and tradition in a process of attending, asserting and pastoral response. Part of that process has been encouraging students from Manila to Managua, and Kinshasa to Kraków to make this vernacular their own by adapting, rethinking and subverting it. In that intercontextual/interreligious conversation the problems and promises of this vernacular have come to light. While most faith traditions do not share common doctrinal frameworks or understandings of polity, they are often capable of forging common ground through shared praxis. Seldom, however, do leaders from these various traditions have methods that can enable theological reflection on this shared praxis from within much less across their faith traditions. Practical theology offers promising possibilities here, as does a reenvisioned Whiteheadian model of dialogue that is a truly catholic (not simply “Roman Catholic”) venture for seeking common ground not despite but because of such diversity. –Edward Foley, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Send your own news and research ideas to add to our list!
(Executive Committee Liaison: Pam Couture, email@example.com)