More than a decade ago, Dr Joyce Bellous and I collaborated in writing a book, Conversations That Change Us, as an extension of several years of work together, leading ministry reflection seminars with theological students. We mostly dumped our class teaching notes and exercises into a book format and found a publisher. Although we did a lot of work developing the materials, we didn't spend much time on crafting, editing and formatting a readable book.
For the past decade, however, several seminaries have used our book as a text because it touches on issues not necessarily addressed elsewhere (and probably because we were Canadian authors for seminaries who pay attention to CanCon). As time went by, students would regularly comment: "great content, very hard to read." So we decided to completely reorganize, edit, craft, update diagrams and reformat the book. I think Joyce and I are both happier to have our names on this version of the book :)
Comments from back of book:
Theological reflection is conversation that’s personal as well as collaborative. It’s not a monologue. Thinking itself is dialogical. In order to learn the arts of theological reflection, we must first understand that when theological reflection is working, it’s effective because the conversation is dialogical. We may begin by engaging in conversation, but it only becomes a theological dialogue under certain conditions.
Bellous and Sheffield introduce the notion of theological reflection as a conversation with God, with oneself, and with the Christian community. It’s a conversation in which we encounter the humanizing gaze of God breaking into our alienation. As we converse, we stop and listen to ourselves and our own assumptions and allow others to listen and serve as witnesses to the story we are telling. That story is a personal narrative each one of us has been gathering since childhood that shapes how we understand ourselves, God and the world.
In the book you hear us engage with Piaget & Vygotsky, with Freud, with Freire, with Gendlin, with Eastern Orthodox monks, with the Prodigal Son. We talk about Lectio Divina, focusing, generative themes, etc.
- Theological Reflection as Dialogue
- Practicing Healthy Theological Reflection
- Speaking the Truth in Love
- Generative Themes and Personal Inquiry
- Narrative Inquiry and Theological Reflection
- Spiritual Types that Influence Theological Reflection
- Collaborative Inquiry
- Theological Reflection and Representing Meaning
- An Approach to Collaborative Theological Reflection
For those who choose to order/read the book, feel free to put a review on Amazon or Good Reads!