• Apologetics without apology

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (2014-07-09)
    • Apologetics without Apology: Speaking of God in a World Troubled by Religion

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Cascade Books, 2017-07-31)
      Against many expectations, religion has not vanished from Western culture. If anything, it exercises a greater fascination than ever before. But people are troubled and fascinated in equal measure by this new visibility of faith, not least because those who ‘speak of God in public’ are now in a minority. Society as a whole is nervous about the public engagement of faith groups and whether it is right to (re)incorporate the vocabulary of faith into our common life. This unprecedented, unanticipated, agonistic co-existence of religion and secularism is sometimes termed the ‘post-secular’, and in this book I consider some of its implications and especially for the public witness of Christianity. I argue that everyone, from Church leaders, theologians to local activists and campaigners, needs to learn again how to ‘speak Christian’ in these contexts, not just to articulate credible theological justifications for their involvement in public life but to justify the very relevance of their faith to a culture that no longer grants automatic privilege or credence. This entails a retrieval of the practice of apologetics, in terms of Christians being prepared to defend their core principles and convictions in public. An apologetics of presence involves a three-fold process of discerning the actions of God in the world, participating in the praxis of God’s mission and bearing witness to the theological convictions that underpin that praxis. Rather than being an adversarial or argumentative process, however, the apologetics of presence is an invitation to dialogue and to the rejuvenation of the vocabulary and praxis of public life, as a way of enriching our shared commitment to the common good.
    • Being, making and imagining: Toward a practical theology of technology

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Manchester (Routledge, 2009-07-29)
      This article discusses how theological reflections upon the relationship between 'earth, sky, gods, and morals' - or nature, transcendence, divinity and humanity - might enable new framings of what it means to be human in the context of advanced technological societies.
    • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Negotiating Religious Voices in Public Spaces

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Ashgate, 2016-08-03)
      Western society is entering an unprecedented political and cultural era in which many of the assumptions of classic sociological theory and of main¬¬stream public theology are being overturned. Whilst many of the features of the trajectory of religious decline, typical of Western modernity, are still apparent, there are compelling and vibrant signs of religious revival, not least in public life and politics - local, national and global. A number of scholars have adopted the terminology of the ‘post-secular’ to denote this supposedly problematic co-existence of re¬vitalized religious activism as a decisive force in public life, both globally and locally, along¬side the continuing trajectory of organisational rel¬igi¬ous decline, accompanied by robust de¬fence of secularism in Western societies. This new dispensation of ‘post-secularity’ presents novel challenges for the way in which religious voices are mediated into public spaces. They must learn to negotiate a path between the ‘rock’ of religious revival and the ‘hard place’ of secularism.
    • Between a rock and a hard place: Public theology in a post-secular age

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (SCM Press, 2013-01-31)
      Public theology is an increasingly important area of theological discourse with strong global networks of institutions and academics involved in it. In this book, Elaine Graham argues that Western society is entering an unprecedented political and cultural era, in which many of the assumptions of classic sociological theory and of mainstream public theology are being overturned. Whilst many of the features of the trajectory of religious decline, typical of Western modernity, are still apparent, there are compelling and vibrant signs of religious revival, not least in public life and politics - local, national and global. This requires a revision of the classic secularization thesis, as well as much Western liberal political theory, which set out separate or at least demarcated terms of engagement between religion and the public domain. Elaine Graham examines claims that Western societies are moving from 'secular' to 'post-secular' conditions and traces the contours of the 'post-secular': the revival of faith-based engagement in public sphere alongside the continuing - perhaps intensifying - questioning of the legitimacy of religion in public life. She argues that public theology must rethink its theological and strategic priorities in order to be convincing in this new 'post-secular' world and makes the case for the renewed prospects for public theology as a form of Christian apologetics, drawing from Biblical, classical and contemporary sources.

      Dormor, Duncan; Graham, Elaine L.; Thatcher, Adrian; Hensman, Savitri; Isherwood, Lisa; Angel, Andrew; Chaplin, Doug; Saracino, Michele; Fuller, Michael; Humphris, Ben; et al. (Liverpool University Press, 2018-01)
    • Doing God? Public theology under Blair

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Continuum, 2009-03-31)
      This book chapter discusses the relationship between faith and politics in Tony Blair's New Labour.
    • Editorial: Hope in the Midst of Ruins

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester
      This editorial article introduces the papers originally given at the annual conference of Modern Church, on the theme of "Theology in the Public Square", held in July 2019. It considers what and how, and with what authority, the Christian churches might speak on public issues in the midst of challenges such as Brexit, inequality and globalisation. The church might speak, but is anyone listening?
    • Feminist critiques, visions and models of the church

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2018-08-28)
      Whilst women comprise the majority of active lay members of most Christian denominations, they have been vastly under-represented within the Church’s ministries of Word and Sacrament. Critical feminist ecclesiologies invariably have to begin from this situation of invisibility and discrimination, whilst arguing for the historic and contemporary legitimacy of women’s full participation alongside men. Feminist critiques and reconstructions have drawn on Biblical and historical evidence in order to refute patterns of hierarchy and exclusion in favour of more egalitarian traditions of the Church as a community of equals. The various strands of the ‘Women-Church’ movement have also been central to a practical feminist ecclesiology, in which women have sought new ways to name their everyday experience as sacred and to exercise new patterns of ministry and leadership. Institutionally-led initiatives, such as the World Council of Churches’ programme on The Community of Women and Men in the Church, have met with mixed success; and increasingly, feminist ecclesiology has focused on the lived experience of women, not only in mainstream churches but in locally-based, informal liturgical communities. These serve to illustrate the extent to which liturgy and worship has been one of the most creative well-springs of feminist activity and renewal; and may, in the long run, be seen to have exercised the greatest lasting impact on the life of the Church.
    • Feminist theory

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011-09-23)
      This book chaper discusses the ways in which the perennial feminist themes of protest, affirmation, and new creation have taken root in pastoral and practical theological scholarship.
    • The final frontier? Religion and posthumanism in film and TV

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015-09-02)
      This chapter aims to indicate how, in keeping with wider cultural trends, contemporary science fiction film and TV may be exhibiting a shift from a secular to a ‘post-secular’ sensibility. If the modernist paradigm within science fiction is beginning to dissolve, and with it a somewhat one-dimensional narrative of scientific triumph over religious superstition, then recent work on the emergence of post-secular paradigms opens up a range of new potential relationships between science, religion and science fiction. It is reasonable to expect that the resurgence of religion both as a geopolitical force and a source of human understanding would be reflected in contemporary examples of the genre, and that religious and spiritual themes would feature in contemporary science fiction narratives, including representations of the posthuman.
    • Finding ourselves: Theology, place, and human flourishing

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Cascade Books, 2011)
      This book chapter is about being "lost" and "found" and of the significance of space and place for "finding ourselves" as fully human. Tim Gorringe's work on culture and the built environment will inform some of the author's reflection on this.
    • Frailty and flourishing: Good news for humanity: Response to Alister McGrath

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Maney, 2011)
      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.
    • Frankensteins and cyborgs: Visions of the global future in an age of technology

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (SAGE, 2003-04-01)
      This paper draws attention to the role of representation in the depiction of scientific and technological innovation as a means of understanding the narratives that circulate concerning the shape of things to come. It considers how metaphors play an important part in the conduct of scientific explanation, and how they do more than describe the world in helping also to shape expectations, normalise particular choices, establish priorities and create needs. In surveying the range of metaphorical responses to the digital and biotechnological age, we will see how technologies are regarded both as ’endangerment’ and ’promise’. What we believe ’technology’ is doing to ’us’ reflects important implicit philosophies of technology and its relationship to human agency and political choice; yet we also need to be alert to the assumptions about ’human nature’ itself which inform such reactions. The paper argues that embedded in the various representations implicit in new technologies are crucial issues of identity, community and justice: what it means to be (post)human, who is (and is not) entitled to the rewards of technological advancement, what priorities (and whose interests) will inform the shape of global humanity into the next century.
    • From where does the Red Tory speak?, Phillip Blond, theology and public discourse

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Equinox, 2012)
      This journal examines the role of theology in the public discourse of Philip Blond.
    • Health, wealth or wisdom? Religion and the paradox of prosperity

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Brill, 2009-01-01)
      This article discusses the role of religious values and participation in the 'happiness hypothesis'.
    • How to speak of God? Toward a postsecular apologetics

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-04-11)
      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.
    • Inhabiting the good city: The politics of hate and the urbanisms of hope

      Graham, Elaine L.; Davey, Andrew; University of Chester ; Church of England (Continuum, 2011-06-16)
      This book chapter discusses the involvement of the Church of England in 'disconected' urban areas.
    • Interrogating the Post-Secular

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018-11-21)
      This chapter seeks to engage in some detail with the conceptual underpinning of the post-secular. It seeks both to clarify, and defend, the relevance and value of what remains, for some, a relatively controversial conceptual term. However the idea of the postsecular is con-ceived —“post” as either against, beyond, or after; “secular” as denoting institutional decline, loss of personal belief or the effacement of the sacred—I will argue that it still has consider-able potential. It can illuminate the changing tensions between newly-visible religious actors with¬in local and global civil society and those who contest such incursions into the supposed neutrality of the public square. Above all, the unprecedented nature of the post¬secular serves to signal the contradictions inherent in the renewed presence of faith, especially in public life, alongside continuing opposition to religion as a source of legitimate public discourse. Such a juxtaposition of belief and non-belief within postsecularity infuses all our consciousness, even the most religiously devout. It follows that any attempt to speak of faith in public re¬quires a greater sophistication and sensitivity than ever.
    • Invitation to Research in Practical Theology

      Bennett, Zoe; Graham, Elaine L.; Pattison, Stephen; Walton, Heather; Anglia Ruskin University; University of Chester; University of Birmingham; University of Glasgow (Routledge, 2018-05-29)
      Practical theology as a subject area has grown and become more sophisticated in its methods and self-understanding over the last few decades. In doing so, it has become increasingly methodologically sophisticated and theoretically self-aware. This book provides a complete and original research primer in the major theories, approaches and methods at the cutting-edge of research in contemporary practical theology. It represents a reflection on the very practice of the discipline itself, its foundational questions and epistemological claims. Each chapter examines different aspects of the research process: starting with experience and practice, aspects of research design and epistemology, communities of learning, the influence of theological norms and tradition on the practice of research, and ethical considerations about what constitutes ‘the good’ in advanced research. It offers worked examples from the authors, their colleagues and research students that serve to illustrate key ideas and approaches in practical theological research.