Special Issue "Theology and Practical Life"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Simon S.M. Kwan
Website
Guest Editor
Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
Interests: Asia theologies; contextual theologies; Christian counseling; practical theologies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Theology is eminently practical—this is what basically this special issue is about. Martin Luther put the idea succinctly when he said, “Divinity consists in use and practice, not in speculation and meditation. Every one that deals in speculations, either in household affairs or in temporal government, without practice, is lost and worth nothing." The great philosopher-theologian of the High Middle Ages Duns Scotus similarly emphasized that “the habit of theology is practical.” Although theology is unmistakably academic, it can no longer be done in an armchair; although practice has its technical and strategic dimension, it is inherently moral and theological. Theology-practice integration is imperative. The recent decades thus saw the inauguration of many theological organizations to go along the lines of this tradition to engage in constructing the discourse, such as the International Academy of Practical Theology, the British and Irish Association for Practical Theology, the Association of Practical Theology, International Society of Empirical Research in Theology, the Society for Practical Theology in South Africa, the Asia Academy of Practical Theology Hong Kong, etc. Today, the impact is felt in many ways throughout the entire field of theology both within and without the communities of practical theology.

For this special issue of our journal we call for papers that address theologizing as a transformational activity in different aspects of practical life. They include but are not limited to social justice, world peace, politics, economics , business, ecology, poverty, inter-religious and cross-cultural encounter, human sexuality, aesthetic appreciation, spirituality and spiritual care, health and disease, aging, disabilities, education, and the like. While we welcome different approaches to theology and practical life, priority will be given to those that show a good level of interdisciplinary engagement, and take seriously the analysis of the empirical practical reality.

May we all learn as we share our views and our experiences with each other.

Prof. Dr. Simon Shui-Man Kwan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Practice
  • Practical Theology
  • Empirical Theology
  • Social Justice
  • world peace
  • theology & politics
  • theology & economics
  • theology & business
  • ecology
  • poverty
  • inter-religious and cross-cultural encounter
  • human sexuality
  • aesthetic appreciation
  • spirituality and spiritual care
  • health and disease
  • aging
  • disabilities
  • education

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Are Hospital Chaplains Under Stress in Hong Kong? Preliminary Results from a Pilot Study
Religions 2019, 10(5), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050325 - 15 May 2019
Abstract
In Hong Kong, healthcare professionals are under great stress when performing their duties in public hospitals, in which patient beds are usually fully occupied, and the workload is high. Hospital chaplains are members of the healthcare team in a hospital, as well: Are [...] Read more.
In Hong Kong, healthcare professionals are under great stress when performing their duties in public hospitals, in which patient beds are usually fully occupied, and the workload is high. Hospital chaplains are members of the healthcare team in a hospital, as well: Are they also under stress? Furthermore, is there any relationship between religious experience and stress? This study aims to provide some background information about the health status of hospital chaplains, and to explore any relationships between stress and their spiritual experiences. A total of 100 hospital chaplains were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study, and a 60% valid response rate was obtained. Participants completed the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale 21 and the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale. The results showed that most of the hospital chaplains (78.3%) have a normal stress level, and the prevalence of mild to severe symptoms of stress is low (21.7%) when compared with the stress levels of nurses (41.1%) found in another study. However, more anxiety was expressed by younger hospital chaplains; this is common in caring professions, and they should have mentoring and support. All hospital chaplains have a higher level of spiritual experiences, which was not found to be related to stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Open AccessArticle
An Ecumenical Experiment in Colonial Hong Kong: The Start of the Tsuen Wan Ecumenical Social Service Centre (1973 to 1997) and Its Local Praxis
Religions 2019, 10(5), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050294 - 28 Apr 2019
Abstract
Based on both documentary research and a series of interviews, this study retrieves the ecumenical spirit of the beginning of the dismissed Tsuen Wan Ecumenical Social Service Centre (TWESSC), a Christian non-governmental organization. Early ecumenical praxis among six local churches (including one Catholic [...] Read more.
Based on both documentary research and a series of interviews, this study retrieves the ecumenical spirit of the beginning of the dismissed Tsuen Wan Ecumenical Social Service Centre (TWESSC), a Christian non-governmental organization. Early ecumenical praxis among six local churches (including one Catholic parish) testified to the need to work for (and with) the poor and to advocate for social justice, as promoted and sponsored by the World Council of Churches in the early 1970s. The TWESSC was recognised as an effective activist group in colonial Hong Kong, but was disbanded in 1997, due to conflict between the executive committee (including church representatives) and its frontline social workers and its service recipients. This article contributes to the study of ecumenism in Hong Kong in two ways. Firstly, it examines the emergence of the ecumenical movement in Hong Kong against the broader background of the involvement of church groups in community development. Secondly, it explores how the Hong Kong churches were occupied by the subvention of frontline services by the government since the 1980s, and how they sought to silence dissenting voices in the ecumenical movement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Open AccessArticle
Listening to the Powerless: Experiences of People with Severe Intellectual Disabilities in an Evangelical Church
Religions 2019, 10(4), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040287 - 23 Apr 2019
Abstract
The experiences of people with severe intellectual disabilities (SID) in local churches are rarely studied, and their voices are not being heard in the research and religious communities. This study is an attempt to narrow the gap. Through a research method that combined [...] Read more.
The experiences of people with severe intellectual disabilities (SID) in local churches are rarely studied, and their voices are not being heard in the research and religious communities. This study is an attempt to narrow the gap. Through a research method that combined person-centred care and action research, this study looks to explore the experiences of three persons with SID in a Hong Kong evangelical church, and give an account of the cultural and religious forces that have marginalized them. Findings show that it is not merely feasible but also necessary for church caregivers to listen to these powerless individuals if they want to be liberated from destructive stereotypical images of SID, broaden their basis of religious epistemology, and transform their spiritual care practices. However, the study reveals that there are some remaining barriers. It is found that the problematic evangelical style of spirituality has made Christians without disabilities misconceive individuals with SID as either inferior in the matter of faith or even incapable of coming to faith. Three corresponding types of pastoral responses that have kept persons with SID at the margins of the faith community are identified and discussed in this paper. The research results implies that evangelical Christian communities need nothing less than a critical examination of the logic of coming to faith if they want to remove such religious prejudice against persons with SID in future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
An Understanding of Religious Doing: A Photovoice Study
Religions 2019, 10(4), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040269 - 15 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The ability to participate in everyday activities that hold meaning and value is a determinant of health and wellbeing. Occupational therapists work with people when health and social barriers limit this valued participation. However a challenge persists in including religious practice or ‘doing’ [...] Read more.
The ability to participate in everyday activities that hold meaning and value is a determinant of health and wellbeing. Occupational therapists work with people when health and social barriers limit this valued participation. However a challenge persists in including religious practice or ‘doing’ within therapy, with many occupational therapists feeling ill-equipped and reluctant to address religious doing. The study reported here examines religious doing within the lives of participants from a number of faith traditions. A photovoice method is used, with participants discussing photographs that they have taken to describe their religious doing. Data are analyzed using a phenomenological reflective lifeworld approach. Findings are grouped into six themes and are explored using both verbatim quotes from transcripts and some of the photographs taken by participants. A reflective description of the core aspects of participants’ practical religious doing is constructed from the data, with the intention of providing occupational therapists with a basis from which to begin to consider practical religious doing within the lives of their clients. It is proposed that occupational therapists do not need an in-depth knowledge of theology and doctrine but rather an understanding of key and familiar occupational principles such as person-centred habits and routines, and community connectedness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Interfaith Chaplaincy as Interpretive Hospitality
Religions 2019, 10(3), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030226 - 26 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Hospital chaplaincy must reconcile competing epistemologies of health and salvation (Christian, clinical, holistic, etc.), but when done in interfaith situations this task becomes more difficult. As current models of spiritual care are insufficient, this paper proposes a paradigm based on Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics [...] Read more.
Hospital chaplaincy must reconcile competing epistemologies of health and salvation (Christian, clinical, holistic, etc.), but when done in interfaith situations this task becomes more difficult. As current models of spiritual care are insufficient, this paper proposes a paradigm based on Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of translation, as adapted for comparative theology by Marianne Moyaert. In particular, it looks at his idea of linguistic hospitality as a way to structure relations, spiritual assessments, and pastoral interventions in interfaith chaplaincy without reducing the unique strangeness of “the Other”. Furthermore, a practical, performative (ritual) hospitality can overcome the epistemological and soteriological obstacles that have frustrated systematic theologies of religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Open AccessArticle
“I Will Show You My Faith by My Works”: Addressing the Nexus between Philosophical Theodicy and Human Suffering and Loss in Contexts of ‘Natural’ Disaster
Religions 2019, 10(3), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030213 - 20 Mar 2019
Abstract
As a practical theologian and researcher in the field of ‘natural’ disasters, as well as being a disaster responder chaplain, I am often confronted by, and have to confront, the nexus between theology/philosophy and “real life” in extremely traumatic contexts. The extreme suffering [...] Read more.
As a practical theologian and researcher in the field of ‘natural’ disasters, as well as being a disaster responder chaplain, I am often confronted by, and have to confront, the nexus between theology/philosophy and “real life” in extremely traumatic contexts. The extreme suffering that is often the consequence of catastrophic natural disasters warrants solutions that can help vulnerable populations recover and adapt to live safely with natural hazards. For many practice-based responders, speculative theological/philosophical reflections around situations that are often human-caused seem predominantly vacuous exercises, potentially diverting attention away from the empiricism of causal human agency. In this article, I explore a middle ground involving a nuanced methodological approach to theodicy that is practical but no less intellectually demanding, that is theological more than philosophical, practical more than theoretical; a middle ground that also takes seriously the human culpability as causal for the human, and some would say the divine, suffering from disasters. I will include in this exploration my ethnographic fieldwork following the catastrophic earthquake to hit the Caribbean nation of Haiti in 2010. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Open AccessArticle
Keeping It Real: Decolonizing Christian Inter-Religious Practice as an Exercise in a Practical Theology of the Cross
Religions 2019, 10(3), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030203 - 16 Mar 2019
Abstract
“What is suffering? What is hope?” These are questions I have asked for years with classes full of students training for Christian ministry. Now, I ask these questions in classes with Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and ‘spiritual but not religious’ students, all in [...] Read more.
“What is suffering? What is hope?” These are questions I have asked for years with classes full of students training for Christian ministry. Now, I ask these questions in classes with Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and ‘spiritual but not religious’ students, all in training to be spiritual care therapists. The institution where I serve is in the process of transitioning from a mono-religious Christian theological College to a centre for multi/inter-religious education. Those of us who teach in the program are disrupted continually by pedagogical challenges that both perplex and energize us. The multi-religious classroom decolonizes spaces long dominated by Christian theological discourse. Course content yields to a fluid and open-ended, interactive process. My “mastery of the field” gives way to an ongoing practice of surrender—a kenotic self-emptying—that usually leaves me shaken in overwhelming awe or angst-ridden questioning. Through a practical theological methodology that begins with lived human experience, this paper shares an autoethnographic account of my experience as a teacher in the multi-religious classroom. It presents key dimensions of the theology of the cross as an interpretive framework and closes by examining how the theology of the cross offers a practical Christian theological reflective process to empower decolonizing pedagogy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Open AccessArticle
Participation as a Christian Ethic: Wojtyla’s Phenomenology of Subject-in-Community, Ubuntu, and the Trinity
Religions 2019, 10(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010057 - 17 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Participation is defined as being-with and acting-for others with the aim of advancing the common good. Karol Wojtyla’s philosophy of community and the Sub-Saharan ethic known as Ubuntu are used to describe a participative ethic. These philosophies approach participation in a particular way—namely, [...] Read more.
Participation is defined as being-with and acting-for others with the aim of advancing the common good. Karol Wojtyla’s philosophy of community and the Sub-Saharan ethic known as Ubuntu are used to describe a participative ethic. These philosophies approach participation in a particular way—namely, through positing both an ‘I-Thou’ and a ‘We’ dimension. Neither in Wojtyla’s philosophy, nor in Ubuntu, do we find references to Christian theology. Though it is evident that these philosophies incorporate certain moral values embraced by the Christian community, it is necessary to make the theological alignment explicit. The main aim of the essay is to do just that. It is argued that participation is rightly construed as a Trinitarian ethic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Practical Life)
Back to TopTop