Theological dissonance

One of the interesting ways of looking at Church in practice is to observe the theologies that are at work. This is not straightforward as it is not a single entity, but even more there are a number of layers of theology at work. Two of the most interesting are the ‘Espoused Theology’ (what we believe we believe) and the ‘Operant theology’ (what we actually do)
In my world of ministry amongst young people there can be a stark unconscious divergence between these two.
Espoused: Young people are of central importance to this church
Operant: After the service adults do not talk/listen to the young people
A key theological question in so many arenas of church life that we need to enable is ‘why?’
There is a real need to wrestle theologically …. especially where the Operant and Espoused theologies are divergent.

3 Replies to “Theological dissonance”

  1. This is so true and important. I like to put it like this for my American friends… we say we’re pro life all the way. But if a person breaks into our house to steal our TV we want to reserve the right to kill that person. Lots of those out there!

  2. Hi Justin
    Interesting question! I don’t claim to have the answers but we need more honesty, dialogue and space to question I feel.
    There is also some interesting pointers in a book by Hegstad who explores the fact that a lot of our narrative around the church is the idealized theological notion of church (the invisible he calls it) and we need to be thinking and asking ourselves much more about the visible church … as experienced)

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