The status of indigenous minority language groups in Europe has been underresearched in theology and religious studies. In the United Kingdom alone, besides English, there are at least ten languages that are indigenous to these islands and many who use those languages see all that is associated with their linguistic identity under threat: music, arts and literature; communities; ways of thinking; ways of being in the world. This article focuses on Welsh language users in particular as both a minority and oppressed group in the United Kingdom. Along with a concern for other experiences of oppression, this paper argues that the experiences of minority language groups need to be taken seriously by scholars of religion and theology and invites contributions from our disciplines to debates about the place and status of minority language groups. To that end, this paper begins to map the contours of a liberation theology of the Welsh language.
The body, whether understood positively or negatively, has always been a part of Christian thinking and practice. However, the body has often been viewed as a ‘prison’ from which humans should seek to escape. In this paper, I suggest that, despite dominant theological discourses that have sought to negate the human body – and especially bodies that do not conform to certain norms – we find in the Christian tradition extra-ordinary theologies and spiritualities of survival and resistance expressed through the body. Deaf perspectives on God provide one example of this. By giving attention to the ways in which Deaf people imagine God as embodied, I argue that we can imagine ourselves as just like God – concretely in God’s image in our embodied condition, and that in this discovery, we can learn to affirm our embodied states in all their diversity.
Extra ecclesiam nulla salus has been central to Catholic understandings of salvation for centuries, but precisely what that means with regard to people of other Christian denominations, other faiths, and people of no faith, has been subject to re-interpretation. This paper argues that in the words and deeds of Pope Francis, he has suggested that people of any faith and none can and should be viewed as ‘valued allies’ to the Catholic Church, especially where anyone is willing to work cooperatively for the common good of all. I propose that this way of thinking about people outside of the Catholic Church constitutes a rethinking of the ancient mantra that recognizes the necessity of churches, people of other faiths and no faith, being willing to work together to realize the common goals of equality, peace and justice.
This journal article is a response to Alister McGrath’s keynote lecture to the annual conference of the British and Irish Association for Practical Theology in London on 12 July 2011. It focuses on the themes of the relationship between theology and practice; the practice of ‘attentiveness’ and the nature of virtue or the virtues; and the connections between religion, well-being and flourishing.
Against most expectations religion has not vanished from Western culture. If anything, it exercises a greater fascination than ever before. Broadly, we might think of ourselves as occupying a new, 'postsecular' space between a renewed visibility of religion in public life, and a corresponding acknowledgement of the importance of religious values and actors; and persistent and widespread disillusion and scepticism towards religion, and objections to religion as a source of legitimate public discourse. In a world that is more sensitive than ever to religious belief and practice, yet often struggles to accommodate it into secular discourse, how do religious institutions justify their position in a contested and volatile public square? This article argues that the contemporary postsecular context requires a recovery of the ancient practices of Christian apologetics as a form of public, theological witness to the practical value of faith, articulated in both deed and word.
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