Conundrums in Practical Theology

This session presents a panel discussion of a newly published landmark volume, Conundrums in Practical Theology, edited by two leading scholars of practical theology, Joyce Ann Mercer and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore. A conundrum is a perplexing problem that cannot really be permanently resolved, yet must be dealt with when it occurs. Addressing key intellectual and practical conundrums that trouble practical theology, the panel will identify critical issues that frame the borders, biases, and breakdowns in the construction of theological knowledge in academy and religious communities. Such exploration reveals the ways in which the field of practical theology in particular and theological construction writ large continue to be vibrant when in flux. By making the conundrums in practical theology explicit, and suggesting strategies for addressing them, the volume pushes scholarship beyond the current and continual “sticking points” such conundrums present.

With international and interdisciplinary perspectives, panelists will speak to the following generative conundrums of the field: the hierarchy of theory over practice; the risks of interdisciplinarity and reflexivity to scholarly identity; the paradox of hegemony (specifically racism and Christian-centrism) in theological discourse and religious practice; and the tensions between the production of scholarship and public service.

Joyce Ann Mercer, Yale University
Bonnie Miller-McLemore, Vanderbilt University

Tone Strangeland Kaufman, Norwegian School of Theology
Phillis I. Sheppard, Vanderbilt University
Jaco S. Dreyer, University of South Africa
Tom Beaudoin, Fordham University

Christian Scharen, Auburn Theological Seminary

The session closes with a very brief business meeting.

Look for this session to be posted in the October AAR program book!