Module S/PT3902

Sections 1 – 7 are key module details which once validated cannot be changed without revalidation
1. Module Title: Long Project in Ordinary Theology
2. Credits:
Level: 6
3. Programme: BA (Hons) Practical Theology
Code: PT3902
Type: blended learning
4. Pre-requisites:
Learning Outcomes for the module.
By the conclusion of this module, a student will be expected to be able to :
a. critically evaluate the concept and practice of ordinary theology and its relationship to other
areas of practical theology;
b. demonstrate an understanding of qualitative research techniques, ethical considerations, and
reflexivity as a researcher;
c. undertake independent qualitative research regarding the held-beliefs of members of their
d. select, discuss, apply, analyse, synthesise and critically evaluate relevant data, and articulate
findings clearly;
e. use the Christian tradition to critique the results of this research and provide a normative
f. evaluate the research findings in relation to existing research in this area and make
recommendations for future research;
6. Catalogue Summary
This module provides the opportunity for the student to undertake a practical investigation of one major
aspect of the beliefs that are actually held by members of their own congregation. In order to do this, the
student will first be given a thorough introduction to the concept of ‘ordinary theology’ [Astley: 2002] and
recent (empirical) research in this field, as well as sufficient methodological preparation, including
appropriate ethical considerations. The actually held beliefs to be investigated will be drawn from a
limited range of key areas in which relevant and recent research already exists[Christology, Soteriology,
Hermeneutics, Eschatology], both so that the student has a clear precedent to learn from and definite
results to compare their own findings against. Such an approach will also enable the existing body of
empirical research to be built upon, and verified or questioned.
7. Assessment Pattern
Written Assignment (2500 words)
Project Report (6000 words)
Weight %
Pass Req
8. Indicative Tutorial Team
Rev Dr Michael Armstrong
Rev Dr Graham Adams
9. Indicative Learning and Teaching Activities
Activity Type
HESA Category
Practical classes and workshops
Supervised time in studio/workshop
External visits
Work-based learning
Project supervision
Year abroad
Guided independent study
30 credits x 10 notional hours = 300
Total Hours
10. Sample Assignments
Assignment 1 (2500 words)
Critically evaluate the concept and practice of ordinary theology and provide a rationale
for how this approach will be applied to your chosen field of investigation. Justify your
methodology for the investigation of held-beliefs within your congregation and provide
evidence of appropriate ethical consideration.
Assignment 2 (6000 words)
The project report will present the research findings, critique this data and draw
conclusions about what they can tell us in relation both to the Christian tradition and
existing empirical research, provide critical reflections on the methodology and the
experience of the participants, and make relevant suggestions for future research.
11. Indicative Outline Content
Unit 1: Ordinary Theology – an overview.
Unit 2: How do we know it is theology at all? Does revelation continue?
Unit 3: Researching ordinary theology. Existing research data.
Unit 4: Qualitative research – methods, techniques and considerations.
Session 1: Lecture – An introduction to Ordinary Theology: strengths and weaknesses and its relationship
to other areas of practical theology.
Session 2: Lecture –the importance of the Christian tradition in critiquing its results. The skilled theological
reflector and the ‘people’s theologian’.
Session 3: Lecture - Recent ordinary theology research. Areas to choose from.
Session 4: Lecture – Qualitative research techniques. Reflexivity and ethical considerations. The benefits of
listening, and ‘listening theologically’. Dual role of pastor-researcher.
Session 5: Seminar – Bringing together a research proposal.
Session 6: Seminar – Getting underway with the research. Issues, problems and tips.
12. Indicative Reading
Please note that resources, including course notes/presentations, papers and discussions, as well
as access to online journals, are available through the University of Winchester Learning
ARCS (2008), ‘Living Church in the Global City: Theology in Practice’, Research Report
Armstrong, Michael R., ‘Lay Christian Views of Life After Death: A Qualitative Study and Theological
Appraisal of the “Ordinary Eschatology” of Some Congregational Christians’ (University of Durham:
DThM thesis, 2011) []
Armstrong, Michael R., ‘Ordinary Theologians as Signal Processors of the Spirit’ and ‘Extraordinary
Eschatology: Insights from Ordinary Theologians’ in J. Astley and L. Francis (eds.), Exploring Ordinary
Theology: Everyday Christian Believing and the Church (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013)
Astley, Jeff, Ordinary Theology: Looking, Listening and Learning in Theology (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002)
Astley, Jeff, and Ann Christie, Taking Ordinary Theology Seriously (Cambridge: Grove Books, 2007)
Astley, Jeff, and Leslie J. Francis (eds.) Exploring Ordinary Theology: Everyday Christian Believing and the
Church (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013)
Brown, David, Tradition and Imagination: Revelation and Change (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)
Cameron, Helen et al., Studying Local Churches: A Handbook (London: SCM, 2005)
Cameron, Helen, and John Reader, Victoria Slater, Christopher Rowland, Theological Reflection for Human
Flourishing: Pastoral Practice and Public Theology (London: SCM, 2012)
Christie, Ann, and Jeff Astley, 'Ordinary Soteriology: A Qualitative Study', in Leslie J. Francis, Mandy
Robbins and Jeff Astley (eds.), Empirical Theology in Texts and Tables: Qualitative, Quantitative and
Comparative Perspectives (Leiden: Brill, 2009)177-96.
Christie, Ann, Ordinary Christology: Who Do You Say I Am? Answers from the Pews (Aldershot: Ashgate,
Graham, E., H. Walton and F. Ward (2005), Theological Reflection: Methods, London: SCM Press.
Graham, Elaine (2011), ‘Frailty and Flourishing: Good News for Humanity – Response to Alister McGrath’,
Practical Theology, 4, 3: 333–8.
Green, Laurie, Let’s do Theology: Resources for Contextual Theology (London: Mowbray, completely
revised and updated new edition, 2009)
Lindbeck, George A. (1984), The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age, London:
Lindbeck, George A. (1996), ‘Spiritual Formation and Theological Education’, in Jeff Astley, Leslie J. Francis,
and Colin Crowder (eds.), Theological Perspectives on Christian Formation: A Reader in Theology and
Christian Education, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
McGrath, Alister (1997), The Genesis of Doctrine: A Study in the Foundations of Doctrinal Criticism , Grand
Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
Miller-McLemore, Bonnie J. (ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (Oxford: Wiley
Blackwell, 2011)
Nash, Sally, and Paul Nash, Tools for Reflective Ministry (London: SPCK, 2009)
Newman, John Henry (1859), ‘On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine’, The Rambler, July 1859,
reproduced in John Henry Newman, Conscience, Concensus and the Development of Doctrine:
Revolutionary Texts by John Henry Cardinal Newman, ed. James Gaffney, (New York:
Image/Doubleday, 1992), 392-428.
(30 June 2011)
Osmer, Richard R., Practical Theology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 2008)
Rogers, Andrew, ‘Reading Scripture in Congregations: Towards an Ordinary Hermeneutics’, in L.
Bretherton and A. Walker (eds.), Remembering our Future: Explorations in Deep Church (Milton
Keynes: Paternoster, 2007) 81-107.
Rogers, Andrew, Congregational Hermeneutics: How do we read? (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming)
Rogers, Andrew, 'Congregational Hermeneutics: Towards Virtuous Apprenticeship', in J. Astley & L. Francis
(eds.), Exploring Ordinary Theology: Everyday Christian Believing and the Church (Aldershot:
Ashgate, 2013)
Rogers, Andrew, H+ Making Good Sense of the Bible (Swindon: Bible Society, 2011)
Thompson, Judith, and Stephen Pattison and Ross Thompson, SCM Studyguide to Theological Reflection
(London: SCM, 2008)
Village, Andrew, The Bible and Lay People: An Empirical Approach to Ordinary Hermeneutics (Aldershot:
Ashgate, 2007)
Voas, David and Alasdair Crockett ( 2005), ‘Religion in Britain: Neither Believing nor Belonging’, Sociology
39.1, 11-28.
Ward, Pete (ed.), Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012)
Ward, Pete and Sarah Dunlop (2011), ‘Practical Theology and the Ordinary: Visual Research among
Migrant Polish Catholic Young People’ Practical Theology 4.3, 295-313
Ward, Pete, Participation and Mediation: A Practical Theology for the Liquid Church (London: SCM, 2008)