Discerning Mission

Reflecting on ecclesiology and ethnography

Back in May, Dr. Chris Scharen hosted a two-day conference at Luther which explored the interplay of ecclesiology and ethnography . Here Dr. Terri Elton offers some reflections on the meeting, and poses questions worth pondering:

What does it mean to bridge theology, in particular ecclesiology, and the social sciences? Is pursing such a bridge even a worthy endeavor? What motivates the search for this bridge? What benefit does such a pursuit have for the greater good?

In the room, ruminating on

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Ecclesiology and ethnography

How might qualitative research engage with theological research in a congregational setting? Dr. Pete Ward has some suggestions:

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Listening, leadership, ethnography

Dori Baker reflects on the benefits of an " ethnography of hope " at the Alban blog . She quotes Thomas E. Frank, a seasoned observer of church life, noting that he "writes about turning to ethnographic practices of listening as a way to escape what he perceived to be market-driven perspectives prevalent in church-improvement literature. He found most of that writing to be largely prescriptive, tending to depict a congregation 'as a franchise in a service industry, completely missing the remarkable

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