From Strength to Strength: Shaping a Black Practical Theology for the 21st Century by Robert London Smith, Jr.From Strength to Strength: Shaping a Black Practical Theology for the 21st Century by Robert London Smith, Jr.

From Strength to Strength: Shaping a Black Practical Theology for the 21st Century

byRobert London Smith, Jr.

Hardcover | May 16, 2007

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Drawing on his experience as a member of the clergy and the questions and concerns that arose in the course of ministering to congregants, Robert London Smith, Jr. explores exactly what function the black church performs and, importantly, why. In this provocative work, he argues that much black church praxis is less authentic, relevant, and constructive today because it continues to be implicated by certain values and meanings that are themselves rooted in a historical black thematic universe that is fading and being replaced by a new set of values and meanings located within a contemporary black thematic universe. Using a practical theology method, Smith develops a theological framework (context-praxis) to create an approach to understanding and creating an informed praxis for the black church. He then sets forth a bold project that calls for the critical engagement of black church praxis and what he calls the black thematic universe in its historical and contemporary manifestations. The goal is to transform this praxis so that it remains authentic to the Gospel and the religious traditions and history of those who come to interpret and live out its message in the world, while being relevant to the issues and challenges of the present historical context in which the black church lives out its meaning and purpose, and constructive for the building up and equipping of the Body of Christ. Smith’s creation of a black existential and theological hermeneutic is an approach that moves toward the realization of this ambitious goal. This book challenges many traditional views of black church praxis, including pastoral care, worship, and fellowship, and creates a space for a renewed and much-needed dialogue about the acts of the black church within contemporary America. As such, it is an important text for students of practical theology and African American religion as well as those interested in developing a critical understanding of the implications of the intersection of faith and culture.
The Author: Robert London Smith, Jr., B.S.O.E., M.Th, Ph.D., is an ordained minister who currently writes and continues his research in theology, religion, and African American culture.
Title:From Strength to Strength: Shaping a Black Practical Theology for the 21st CenturyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:9.06 × 6.3 × 0.98 inPublished:May 16, 2007Publisher:Peter Lang Inc., International Academic PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820495182

ISBN - 13:9780820495187


Editorial Reviews

«This highly informed, incisive and constructive book is both hopeful and realistic. Robert Smith knows that nostalgia will not fix the challenges of today, but is utterly convinced by the enormous cultural value, resourcefulness and creativity embedded in the history and struggle of the black church. That legacy provides an unparalleled resilience to the African American community and the means whereby it will create new strengths.» (Iain Torrance, President of Princeton Theological Seminary, Former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Former Dean of Arts & Divinity, University of Aberdeen, Scotland) «Black Practical Theology needs people like Robert Smith. It needs people with a breadth of knowledge and the theological creativity to apply that knowledge to the critical interface between the practices of church and world. It needs people who can wrestle with the rhythms of Grace as they move and challenge the church to live faithfully in a world which frequently forgets to whom it belongs. In this book Smith shows precisely such creativity and depth as he wrestles with some of the key practical theological issues that face the Black church and the emerging discipline of Black Practical Theology today. With an eye on both God’s Kingdom and God’s world, Smith carves out an emerging Black Practical Theology that has the power and the possibility to bring about transformation and change. The book is important and timely and I would recommend that it should be read by all of those who genuinely have a passion for God’s Kingdom and who recognize that faithful transformation requires careful theological reflection.» (Rev. Professor John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, King’s College) «With this text, Smith is an important new voice in black practical theology. The payoff lies in re-envisioning black phronesis – practical wisdom – that contends with a contemporary black theological worldview for the Church in current historical contexts. Smith develops a model for black practical theology to shape informed ecclesial praxis that will wrestle with our individualized and social experiences today. Because Smith is willing to wrestle with hard questions for the Church and academy, ‘From Strength to Strength’ lives into its own dialogical vision.» (Dale P. Andrews, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Homiletics & Pastoral Theology, Boston University School of Theology) «Precisely because this book speaks specifically to the context of the Black Church its methodological focus will be appreciated by all those who are seeking to foster theological reflection which is located, accountable and transforming – whatever their context. I found it helpful in encouraging me to identify those aspects of my own cultural and faith traditions that might become newly relevant as well as those which are restricting growth. This book represents an important and timely contribution to Practical Theology offering a lucid presentation of many of the most important issues facing the discipline today.» (Dr Heather Walton, Lecturer in Practical Theology, Department of Theology and Religious Studies University of Glasgow, United Kingdom)