Back in May,
Dr. Chris Scharen
hosted a two-day conference at Luther which explored the interplay of
ecclesiology and ethnography
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
How might qualitative research engage with theological research in a congregational setting? Dr. Pete Ward has some suggestions:
reflects on the benefits of an "
ethnography of hope
" at the
. 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