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Theological reflection for community development practitioners

The good folks at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) have been helping Christians to engage their cities and communities holistically for nearly 25 years, especially through their three Rs: relocation, reconciliation, and redistribution. And they’ve just taken another step to engage us further in thinking about what it means to seek the shalom of the places God has called us.

For those less familiar with CCDA, the network was formed in 1989 by John Perkins, an evangelical leader who was active in the Civil Rights movement. In Welcoming Justice: God’s Movement Toward Beloved Community (IVP), Perkins argues that after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the movement largely lost touch with its deep Christian roots. He writes:

Only as long as the Civil Rights movement remained anchored in the church — in the energies, convictions and images of the biblical narrative and the worshiping community — did the movement have a vision.

Robust theology, in conjunction with the importance of thick Christian community, has been a core tenet of CCDA since its inception, and I think that’s a significant part of what’s kept this movement on track for these 25 years.

In keeping with this key value, CCDA has just published the first edition of its very own theological journal:

The Theological Journal is designed to enable our practitioners to capably integrate theological concepts into their practice. The articles are written by CCDA members and will challenge us to go deeper theologically, while giving us language that will allow us to dialogue outside of The Academy. Theological reflection and engagement among practitioners and with our neighbors can often be strange bedfellows, but this should not be the case. A significant focus of this first edition will speak to why we need more theology and dialogue, giving historical and Biblical precedent for engagement, helping us explain who we are and why we do what we do. Building on that foundation, the journal will then address the theology and practices of reconciliation, shalom, self-perceptions of the oppressed, and multiculturalism within churches. Contributors include Vince Bantu, Soong-Chan Rah, M. Daniel Carroll, Chris Jehle, Sydney Park, Randy Woodley, Chanequa Walker-Barnes and Curtiss Paul DeYoung.

The journal is available for free as a PDF, and can also be viewed online using Uberflip.

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