Endorsements for What are we thinking?
'My enthusiasm for this book is fired by a number of factors. First, there is the variety of authors and topics. Second, the variety of topics reflects key points in our social, cultural, economic and political context. Third, there is a crying need to up-to-date books that relate the whole gospel to the whole world. Fourth, the book does not aim to indoctrinate us, but rather to challenge us to become thinking Christians in our own contexts. And while Christian readers of all denominations will be challenged and enriched by this book, a fifth reason for my enthusiasm is that it gives contemporary expression to the spirit of John Wesley. Not only were his interests wide ranging, as are the topics in this book, but he managed to develop that rate and precious mix of a theology that is simultaneously passionate and reasonable, both deeply spiritual and socially engaged. That is the excellent mix that this book also offers' - Rev Prof Dr Neville Richardson
'This timely release introduces the reader to fresh, diverse, provocative and urgent voices within the Wesleyan tradition. They share insights on a number of contemporary issues that will push theological boundaries, spiritually enrich, motivate and challenge to action. Each contribution draws from the deep wells of their own life and pastoral experience and beckons the reader to drink from this veritable calabash of collective wisdom which adds to the current theological and public discourse. What are we thinking? is a source for growth. I recommend it to all thoughtful readers' - Rev Ivan Abrahams, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
About the book:
What are our emerging theologians thinking and saying about some of the pressing issues confronting the church and society today? Most of us need to have our thinking stimulated and challenged from time to time. Here is just such an opportunity. You may not necessarily agree with everything you read, but the issues are critical and need to be debated!
- Whose truth will set us free?
- Searching for an African Methodist Liturgical theology
- How we can read the same Bible and reach different ethical conclusions
- Pastoral care with Christian gay women
- A response to global warming and the environment
- The economic implications of Biblical principles
- Biblical metaphors of healing and transformation
- Reading the Scriptures through women?s eyes
- A perspective on youth development in South Africa
- The use of rape in the Bible as a military metaphor
- A call for 'affirmative action' for theological application
Rev Dr Wessel Bentley | Rev Mogomotsi Diutlwileng | Rev Dr Dion Forster | Rev Kevin Light | Rev Mantso Matsepe | Rev Madika Sibeko | Rev Alan Storey | Rev Debbie van de Laar | Rev John van de Laar | Rev Vusi Vilikati
The full reference for the book is:
Bentley, W & Forster, DA (eds.) 2008 What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists. Cape Town. Methodist Publishing house. (ISBN 978-91988352-6).
Here's a bit more information from a section that I wrote in the Editors' introduction:
The idea for this book grew out of a conversation with Bishop Ivan Abrahams, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. One afternoon he and I sat in Christ Church College, Oxford, speaking about the richness of our Southern African Methodist heritage. As we talked we celebrated the blessing and diversity of our Methodist Connexion. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa covers a geographical area that spans 6 nations (Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa). Within the denomination there is a veritable rainbow of cultures, and age groups - not to mention the divergent theological perspectives and styles of worship. When you mix the Wesleyan passion for Christian perfection with such diversity and a rich social history, the outcome is quite remarkable to say the least!
In the weeks that followed that conversation I thought how sad it was that we did not have a resource, such as a book or a journal, that could capture and reflect the blessing of our theological diversity. So, early one morning, I emailed a number of 'emerging' scholars with the following idea: Each one was to write a chapter for the book. The only requirement was that their chapter should reflect a clear position on some theological or social issue about which they felt passionate. Many responded enthusiastically to the challenge, and so this book began to take shape!
In the pages of this book a variety of topics have been considered. Some chapters deal with theological issues (such as the notion of theological truth, approaches to theology, and the use of metaphor in theology and scripture), others consider more practical matters (such as economics and the Christian faith, the training of laity, youth development, and crafting an authentically African liturgical tradition), still others have considered some of the topical issues of time and context (such as the Church and persons of a same sex orientation, gender issues, and issues of the environment).
This book has two simple aims:
1. To present a compilation of 'position papers' by Methodist scholars that reflect some of the issues that Southern African Methodists are praying about, talking about, and thinking about. In this sense the book aims to be 'zeitgeist' (a 'spirit of the times'), reflecting some of our current theological thinking on contemporary issues. You may not necessarily agree with all of the points made here. However, you are encouraged to consider the points that the author makes, to understand why he or she holds the position that is presented, and then to go on to form your own opinions and understanding of what you believe in relation to the issue at hand.
2. This leads to the second aim, namely that we wanted to open the way for our members to begin to think critically about some contemporary challenges and opportunities that Southern Africa, and the Church in Southern Africa, faces. In this regard the book aims to stimulate prayer, thought, further conversation and ultimately courageous action.
I pray that you will be challenged to grow in your own faith as you read the chapters of this book. Ultimately our common aim is to find the most effective, Christ-like, God honouring ways of establishing God's Kingdom here on earth.
Order What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists(edited by Dr Dion A Forster and Dr Wessel Bentley) for R165 in South Africa (order form)