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Artisanal Theology explores the paradoxes and surprises that await those walking in the worlds of theological education--the local congregation, the academy, the tradition/denomination. Part handbook, part witness, it offers guidance for the path of intentional formation within contemporary institutions of theological education, whose riches may be mined in a disciplined spiritual stewardship and grounded in radically covenantal companionship. Just like artisanal bread blends the classical methods of bread-baking with modern conveniences, so an artisanal theology relies upon the personal and communal touch of human relationship amidst the contemporary forms of programmatic theological education. An artisanal theology offers an articulate and traditionally-rooted faith perspective grounded in covenantal companionships sustained in contexts of church, tradition, and, most importantly, practice. Ultimately, an artisanal theology witnesses beyond the anticipated political divides to the Triune God-among-us, known in a theologically expressive delight, able to companion the suffering of self and others.
""A conundrum faced by many undertaking theological education is that the development of contextual spiritual formation is somehow assumed--as if it were some by-product of years of rigorous study. The truth, however, is that this is almost never the case, a truth to which growing numbers of former clergy stand in testament. In Artisanal Theology Lisa Hess explores the practice of this formation: its richness, its nourishment, and its value for both the outward and inward orientations of God's gifts in ministry.""
--Dennis H. Piermont, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of the Miami Valley
""Lisa Hess is a fresh and wonderfully home-grown voice in the world of theological education. Reading Artisanal Theology is an experience of what Hess calls 'expressive theological delight.' Anyone aspiring to be a faithful Christian in the seminary context--students and teachers alike--will appreciate the deep wisdom in this book.""
--Arthur Holder, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
""Those who teach and write in the areas of Christian education, spiritual formation, practical theology, and theological education often suffer from the dual problem of articulating a clear intellectual identity and a clear theological voice. Not only does Hess not suffer from either of these problems, her work is a powerful antidote for them. Clear, insightful, and creatively orthodox, this treatment of theological formation announces a powerful step forward for those laboring in those disciplines within a sometimes unresponsive theological academy. Lisa Hess must be heard!""
--Willie Jennings, Duke Divinity School
""This is the book I was looking for last year when I taught a contextual education discussion section! Lisa Hess's focus on the sharing of craft and wisdom is a poetic and helpful guide for groups, communities, and institutions seeking intentional yet also unpredictable formation. Artisanal theology joins practical theology, systematic theology, and historical theology as another important form of theological wisdom.""
--Carol Lakey Hess, Emory University
About the Contributor(s):
Lisa M. Hess is Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Contextual Ministries at United Theo
Foreword by Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore vii
1 Intentional Formation toward an Artisanal Theology 1
2 Community and Knowledge for an Intentional Formation 20
3 Practicing Into Wisdom-Knowing: Personal and Communal Stories in Covenantal Community 39
4 Shaped by God's Story: Becoming a Seasoned Apprentice-Artisan 68
5 An Artisanal Theological Loaf 86