Monday, January 14, 2008

Theology's Polygraph

The late Alan E. Lewis said: “Ministry is theology’s polygraph” (Jinkins M 2002:ix). QUESTION: Would it not seem that, all too often, it’s a case of: “Theology is ministry’s polygraph”? That there is a tendency to start with ideology at the expense of ministry?


Jenny Hillebrand said...

Are you willing to expand on this? I like the idea that ministry is theology's polygraph.That means that ministry should be a natural outflowing of theology. Sort of 'by their fruit you shall know them'. The other side is the liberation theology thing 'theology as reflection on praxis', I suppose. But I can't quite form in my mind what 'theology as minstry's polygraph' means.
If you have time to expand, I would be interested! Thanks.

Thomas Scarborough said...

Thanks Jenny, This is how I understood it as I posted: What happens in ministry might give theology the lie -- or with this blog in mind, it might give a leadership model the lie. Here's a brief example. My wife is completing a doctorate which demonstrates powerfully, I think, that a particular theology led to wholesale burnout in the field (but most of the missionaries developed a new theological understanding, and rebounded). I’m away from home at the moment, blogging in a Francophone Internet Café, with limited minutes ticking down -- I think I might try a post on this. As I understand you, there should be a healthy symbiosis between theology and ministry. Yes, absolutely. That’s stating the positive side. There seems to me a strange tendency for theologians to retain their basic tenets no matter what happens in ministry.