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Durham e-Theses
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Ordinary Theology amongst Church of England Volunteers: A Contribution to the Debate

EDGE, TIMOTHY PETER (2020) Ordinary Theology amongst Church of England Volunteers: A Contribution to the Debate. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis explores the theological literacy of ordinary (not theologically trained) Christian Church of England volunteers who carry out volunteer work beyond their church congregations. I approach Jeff Astley’s “ordinary theology” in a way that enables the ordinary Christian volunteer to express their theological literacy.
The cohort studied was of Christians whose vocation was to be an intentional Christian presence to those they supported in the context of prison or offender work and supporting chaplaincy with the deaf. I chose to approach this thesis in terms of Jeff Astley’s ordinary theology. This was in order to attend to how such Christian faith (or theology) had changed as a result of their work. I used Cameron’s “Theology in four voices”, attending to the volunteers “espoused” voice, pursuing their perception of “operant” theologies. I approached the study empirically, using a conversational hermeneutic as a researcher who was an “observer as participant”: a participant in the above fields not directly involved, yet sharing a horizon of understanding with the cohort. I pursued semi-structured questions which brought the underlying theology to the fore. Such theology included understanding of culture, the Bible, and aspects of faith such as Christian love, forgiveness and prayer.
The conclusions derived from analysing the data in discussion with “ordinary theology” may encourage further academic exploration and expansion of this particular genre of practical theology, and in particular regarding those motivated by faith to work beyond the local church community. These findings could also provide a theological resource to the wider church, in its mission to engage with the world beyond local church congregations.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Keywords:ordinary theology, volunteers, Astley, Church of England, offenders, local church, espoused voice, faith, forgiveness prayer
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Jul 2020 16:52

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