03 Oct Role of Theological Reflection in DMin Projects
Learning from the Faith Story of the Community: The Role of Theological Reflection in DMin Projects (CJM, Vol. 1 – 2009)
Director, DMin Program, Drew University
This paper proposes a narrative approach to theological reflection that better suits both the nature of the D.Min. degree as a professional degree in the practice of ministry and current reality in most parishes that the faith community now consists of members who not originate from a single theological tradition or single social background but reflect instead the contemporary mobility between communities and denominational traditions.
The role of theological reflection assumed in this paper is one that enables the student ministry researcher/leader to better understand the natures of practicing faith community where she participates.
The realities of postmodernity and the accompanying paradigmatic changes now challenge communities of faith. Out of our conviction that the reality experienced by contemporary people is intentional, relational, and storied, we recognize that a new pastoral narrative/theological hermeneutic and research approach is needed that departs from the research outlook and worldview of the modern era. This fresh approach engages the postmodern realities, including the conviction htat all research methodological traditions are merely competing stories which intersect with many others that affect a given ministry in a given place and time. Believing that all theology is descriptive theology and that only contextually grounded theological statements are reliable guides for the practitioner, this paper crafts a postmodern multi-sensual narrative hermeneutic which integrates narrative biblical theology (Frei and Barnes) with narrative family therapy methodology (Freedman and Combs, Epston).