Friday 1 May 2020

Crucible 11, 1 (March 2020)

The latest issue of Crucible, published by the Australian Evangelical Alliance, is now available online here, with the below articles (abstracts included, where available).

The Cauldron: peer reviewed articles

Peter A. Frith
Hitting the wall: Clergy Encountering the Emotional System in their First Parish
This paper summarises a research project which explored the lived experiences of Anglican clergy as they encountered their church’s emotional system in their first incumbency. Eleven vicars from three Australian dioceses were asked, in a phenomenological study, to describe the main challenges they faced as they led a congregation for the first time. All the participants identified the uncooperative and uncivil behaviour of influential church members as their chief concern. They also disclosed their own stress responses to the behaviour they encountered. These were distilled into five core themes: shock, inadequacy, alienation, relinquishment and hopelessness. Insights from Murray Bowen’s Family Systems Theory were introduced in the analysis phase in order to extract the emotional and systemic dimensions of the data. The study concluded that more highly differentiated clergy achieved lasting, systemic change even though they encountered the most intense conflict. Moderately differentiated clergy achieved temporary change while lower differentiated clergy, who faced the least intense conflict, were changed by the system. The findings in this study are applicable to church authorities, theological training institutions, clergy formation curricula, and aspirants to the pastorate in that they confirm that the emotional system constitutes a major challenge faced by modern church leaders.

Abraham Wu
Eating out in the Open: The Centrifugal, Missional Significance of the Eucharist
Throughout Scripture, and in the history of the Church, the Eucharist has been strongly associated with the Kingdom of God and the Missio Dei. This seems to be in stark contrast to how the Eucharist is often, in modern, Western Christianity, associated with rigid institutionalism, ecclesial division, and theological question – such as those around the nature of Christ’s presence. While these are important questions and issues for the Church, this paper argues that they fail to capture the inherent meaning of the Eucharist, which acts as the sign and sacrament of the Kingdom. Indeed, this paper explores how the Eucharist is not merely centripetal but also a centrifugal force that holds the key to the Church’s missional renewal. By exploring how the Eucharist reveals the Church’s identity as a missional community, how it initiates and challenges the Church’s mission of hospitality, and how it catalyses a sacramental approach to creation care and stewardship, this paper seeks to offer an integrative, sacramental approach to the Church’s mission that reclaims the Eucharist’s central place in ecclesiology and missiology.

Paul Kolawole Oladotun
God Will Supply All Your Needs According to His Glorious Riches: The Problem of Extreme Materialism among Nigerian Pastors
Over the years, the church in Nigeria has been God’s agent, turning the heart of a people to God. But recent activities in the church today betray the expected role of this agency in different parts of the world; to the point that many see Christianity as the root cause of major problems in society. In the past, churches in Nigeria stood up against immorality, corruption in moral defiance of societal norms. The reverse is the case today. Contemporary pastors in Nigeria are aids for committing modern-day fraud because of extreme materialism. Some ministers of God in Nigeria today have turned the church to money making venture. It is disheartening that in the recent time, many pastors’ measure success in the ministry by the size of congregations, numbers of houses as well as cars owned, and many more. The Nigerian pastorate has replaced the goal of faithfulness in the work of God with material, temporal things. In Nigeria, the church is seen as a means of filling one’s own pockets using various illegal and unbiblical means. As a result, this paper engages the vice ravaging Nigeria pastorate via the biblical lens of I Corinthians 9:13. In view of this, material things are not bad in themselves but ‘extreme materialism’ and the ‘lust’ attitude which has enslaved the contemporary Nigeria pastorate must be addressed through a correct re-definition of Call to ministry as well as a deeper level of faith on the path of the so called ‘pastors’.

The Test-tube: ministry resources

Barbara Kathleen Welch
Existential Shame: A Liturgical Approach to Soul Care of the Victims of Child abuse
This article offers suggested ways to help create safer worship environments for those who have been wounded in mind, body and spirit from child abuse. Most often Existential Shame distorts his/her faith; and his/her basic trust has been distorted or even aborted through child abuse. Pastors may offer safer worship opportunities through safer liturgies and rituals. Sensory liturgies may contribute to the healing process of the Limbic System/the emotional brain through the process of neuroplasticity because positive worship experiences help to create new neural pathways and connections in the Limbic System.

Ben Chenoweth
Doing Biblical Exegesis by Distance Well
This article suggests how theological educators may improve student learning in the area of biblical exegesis in on-line mode. It suggests a way forward would be to encourage student-to-student interaction on the biblical text itself, utilising exegetical worksheets to focus the discussion, while at the same time providing students with sample exegesis material. In that way the educator would be modelling what is expected. Assessment, too, should be focused on the real-world uses of biblical exegesis.

No comments: