Making Gravy as Lived Theology: Constructive Theology and Grassroots Activism

Posted on December 26, 2015 by PLT Staff

Recording of a lecture presented by Jennifer McBride at the Spring Institute for Lived Theology 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia. McBride analyzes the methodology in her dissertation and book, The Church for the World: A Theology of Public Witness, through a discussion of the mutually beneficial relationship between theology and ethnography. She then considers the ways her methodology is expanding and discusses her next project.

Excerpt: “Bonhoeffer argues that all systematic thinking has a limit and that for theology that limit is the church, which he defines as Christ existing as community. Theology obedient to the living Christ locates itself within the community of faith and receives into itself all the messiness, complexity, and imperfection intrinsic to the actual church. Thus, in order to gain clarity about how the church demonstrates the person and work of Christ, a theology of public witness must open itself up to existing church communities. The theologian must guard against attempting to construct a closed system by welcoming lessons learned from them. When this occurs, when philosophical theologians allow the practical wisdom of actual communities to break open their theologies, they in effect recognize that these ethnographies are theology, that they are an integral part of theological understanding.”

  • Audio Information
  • Date Recorded:May 26, 2011
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
  • Speaker: Jennifer McBride
  • Audio File:Download File »
This audio is published by the Project on Lived Theology (PLT). For any questions related to its use, please contact PLT ( Copy available for use subject to Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution required, Non-Commercial use, No Derivatives, 3.0, Unported).