Practical Theology


This is a UK peer-reviewed journal which reports good practice, thus contributing fresh insights to the development of pastoral studies and practical theology. It is published three times a year. Volume 3:2. 2010 celebrated fifty years of Practical Theology, formally called Contact: Practical Theology and Pastoral Care which enjoyed many Scottish editors. For newcomers there is, helpfully, an article on the history and nature of this journal. Other articles include two on the nature of Hospital Chaplaincy, of interest to us all, whether in a caring role and/or as patients. There is also a fascinating article on Music in Worship: The Dark Side in which vicar Anne Morris discusses how church music was used for malign or manipulative purposes, e.g. music during the Third Reich in Germany.

As a practising counsellor I enjoyed several absorbing articles in Journal 3: 3. 2010. Harshaw’s article Prophetic Voices, Silent Words asserts how persons with intellectual difficulties may embody a profound message concerning the true nature of God and authentic humanity. Then there is an essay on the challenges of pastoral care with the elderly and two on spirituality in healthcare. I also enjoyed Whipp on Taking Care with Words, the pastor as wordsmith, carefully and tenderly choosing words that invite dialogue. This has a resonance for those of us engaged within a therapeutic relationship.

Finally, as a film goer, I am still reeling from Hampton’s article which is a critique of Martin McDonagh’s film In Bruges. I saw this film but had not appreciated the many layers Hampton offers us, as an understanding of Generation X McDonagh’s film around themes of violence and the loss of connection to past and future. Hampton presents an eschatological vision which “brings on the end” in an uncompromising way. Hampton declares that the violence is contained within a narrative of guilt, punishment and atonement that spares none of its perpetrators, yet is not sanitised or excused. The shock of violence is also used to probe current ethical assumptions. I have read this article three times now and still find fascinating ideas to grapple with within Hampton’s analysis of In Bruges.

I commend the Practical Theology Journals, and this article, to you.
Christine Holland SAPCC



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