In their paper “Genetically Modified Theology: The Religious Dimensions of Public Concerns About Agricultural Biotechnology” Celia Deane-Drummond, Robin Grove-White, and Bronislaw Szerszynski talk about the way different groups of people – including scientists, politicians, and everyday people on the street – talk about biotechnology (as well as other technological developments). This creates environments where technology, such as biotechnology, is viewed in a myriad of different ways within society.
For example, there are some significant concerns being expressed by the general public about biotechnology, and about genetically modified organisms and food in particular. These concerns tend differ from those envisaged by those charged with overseeing or implementing policy, or with researching and developing biotechnology. Rather they reflect questions that are concerned with the very essence of human personhood, about human nature, and the character of the relationship between human beings and the natural world. Commenting on public resistance and antipathy towards particular forms of biotechnology in Britain and Europe at the end of the 1990s they write,
It seems conceivable that the intensity of current controversies around genetically modified crops and foods arises in part from the fact that, in their regulation in the public domain, conflicting ontologies of the person are making themselves felt in the politics of everyday life.
See: Deane-Drummond, Celia, Robin Grove-White, and Bronislaw Szerszynski. “Genetically Modified Theology: The Religious Dimensions of Public Concerns About Agricultural Biotechnology.” Studies in Christian Ethics 14, no. 2 (2001): 23-41.
In these environments religion can play a significant, and often underrated, role. Recent discussions of this with respect to nanotechnology include the following:
As one of the links notes, because nanotechnology is actually the product of a variety of convergent technologies (and is used in a variety of different ways) it doesn’t have the same ‘impact’ in public debate as something like genetically-modified foods or cloning research, but perhaps will have more impact in the long term.
I’ve just finished reading Paul Cornell’s “London Falling,” part of the growing genre of urban fantasy which juxtaposes the everyday world with a parallel, invisible world visible to those with the eyes to see. In this particular case it mixes a police drama, organized crime, football, London and the supernatural, and after a slow start it was quite a good read. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.
For a theologian urban fantasy is a rich treasure-trove of ‘biblical afterlives’ – echoes of biblical texts and stories somehow cut adrift from their original context and taking a life of their own in everyday culture – and often religious characters are dealt with more sympathy than one might think. (On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of paranormal romance which often intersects with urban fantasy).
From the past few years, here are a few of my favourites (which are often part of a series):
And a few others which cross over with steampunk and western
This popped up in my Facebook feed the other day and reminded me that while we have spent a lot of time, money and resources on course structures, content, delivery and evaluation, and even what should be in a course outline or syllabus, the actual document is just plain (boring). It doesn’t really engage students the way we’d like them to do with the rest of the course.
See Extreme Makeover, Syllabus Edition « Tona Hangen for one attempt to address this.
This is something on my mind at the moment as I’ve been thinking a lot about theological education (and higher education in general) in the NZ setting. Piled up beside my bed and on my desk at the moment are the following books, each of which gives a view into theological education in various contexts:
“Revitalizing Practice” (Malcolm L. Warford, Mary E. Hess, Timothy C. Tennant, Joseph A. Bessler, Peter T. Cha)
“Uncovering Theology: the Depth, Reach and Utility of Australian Theological Education” (Charles Sherlock)
“Future of Christian Learning, The: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue” (Mark A. Noll, James Turner)
“English for Theology: A Resource for Teachers and Students (Dominican Series)” (Gabrielle Kelly)
“Transforming Theology: Student Experience and Transformative Learning in Undergraduate Theological Education” (Les Ball)
“Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians” (IVP Books)
“Quality Research Papers: For Students of Religion and Theology” (Nancy Jean Vyhmeister)
“Engaging Technology in Theological Education: All That We Can’t Leave Behind (Communication, Culture, and Religion)” (Mary E. Hess)
“A Genuinely Educated Ministry” : Three Studies on Theological Education in the Uniting Church of Australia (Andrew Dutney)
Any other suggestions
I’ve been pondering a children’s talk about the Trinity that doesn’t fall into modalism or tritheism, so I was interested to see Steve’s spin on it.
See: sustain:if:able kiwi » Trinity Sunday and Rublevs Icon as childrens talk.
The ANZATS web site (www.anzats.edu.au) doesn’t seem to be linking to the ANZATS conference registration form. Just gives a broken link.
The correct link to register is:
Accommodation details and contacts are there too.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything in the Children’s Talk section of this blog. I’ve done a number over that past 6 months (including the pneumatology for infants talk with a stick blender), but the most recent was the Parable of the Lost Coin.
For this I wanted to capture that sense of desperation in searching for something that was missing, even if you had other similar things, and then the joy of the angels at a person entering the Kingdom of God. I didn’t really need much in the way of props – just a small bag + 10 chocolate coins + lots of chocolate coins.
I put 9 coins in the bag (a small, opaque cloth bag with a draw-string) and I asked a member of the congregation to look after the 10th coin and to drop it under their seat at a set time. At the time of the talk I spoke about the precious things in the bag, told the children there were 10 coins in it, and then we all counted out loud the coins one at a time – 1, 2, 3 … 9. 9?!?! Counted them again. Still 9. Sent children off to scurry around the church looking for the coin – great excitement when found.
(In the meantime, I’d ‘palmed’ one of my 9 coins).
Count the coins again: 1, 2, 3…9. 9!?!?!? (More looking for the new missing coin, which I ‘find’ I’m sitting on.) Count them again. 1, 2, 3…10!!!
Talk a bit about the parable – basically just recount the story (kids are good at stories – don’t need an adult to tell them the moral). Ask them what would be a good way to celebrate (like the angels) my lost coin being found. [By this stage, they are all salivating and watching the coins going back into the bag]. I ask them if chocolate coins would work, and produce a big bag of them to be given to the Kidztime (Sunday School) teachers to distribute at the end of their programme. It all went really well.
(I also kept another bag of coins and handed them out to adult parishioners at the end of the service to keep them thinking about the parable. They were also appreciated.)
Luke 15:8-10 NIV – The Parable of the Lost Coin.
Interesting post by Andii Bowsher on the place (and decline?) of singing in churches, perhaps generated by the development of a performance/consumption culture around music within church services. Something I’ve been wondering about recently, especially in the way ‘worship culture’ shapes not only our ecclesiology but also the physical form of worship spaces through the ages. (The displacement of the cross or crucifix at the front of a church by projector screens or display monitors being one aspect of that in contemporary times).
Andii’s post is at: Have people stopped singing in church?
Also see this related article a student alerted me to:
- Goodliff, Andrew. ‘It’s all about Jesus: a critical analysis of the ways in which the songs of four contemporary worship Christian songwriters can lead to an impoverished Christology”. Evangelical Quarterly, 81, no. 3 (2009): 254-268. (Available here)
James Harding posted the link below on Facebook yesterday which reminded me of a number of related articles recently discussing the relationship (or lack thereof) between higher education and pastoral/priestly vocations.
James linked to
The Consolation of Theology: Or Why We Need Scholar Priests | The Curate’s Desk.
Other related links to that article include:
And related to that
Some good questions here.
Excellent post by Nick Thompson on ‘religious multiplexes’ – places of worship used by more than one religious group both in NZ and around the world. Lots of excellent photos.
More to the point, I thought it was worth noting that there are plenty of more ancient examples of this kind of church-sharing, particularly in parts of the world where political circumstances have forced Christian denominations into these partnerships. They have usually been less civil arrangements than the ones found in New Zealand, but they’ve also lasted a lot longer
via Auckland Theology, Biblical Studies, et al – Religious multiplexes.
An interesting looking online course Gender Through Comic Books | Canvas Network that partners a study of gender in comics with required reading materials being available to purchase through digital comic providers (in this case, Comixology).
Wondering if such a model might work for distance/online theological education?