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Title: Living Marriage, Learning Discipleship, Teaching Church
Subtitle: The Practices of Married Life as Embodied Theology for Today's Mission
Author(s): WATKINS, Clare
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 20    Issue: 2   Date: 2014   
Pages: 236-248
DOI: 10.2143/INT.20.2.3066754

Abstract :
This paper seeks to present marriage and family life as itself an authoritative source of learning for today’s church. The Christian household is recognised as occupying a uniquely important place ecclesiologically, as simultaneously central to and 'on the edges of' ecclesial organisation. Those living marriage and family vocations are thoroughly immersed in the world and live church 'in a secular key', making them particular authorities for mission. The task the paper faces is that of enabling this hidden missiological wisdom to come to the fore. To this end, the practical theological framework of 'theology in four voices', developed elsewhere by the author and her colleagues at Heythrop College, University of London, is used. Published data from the Listening 2004 project of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales provides real voices from family and married life to be heard and reflected upon. The themes of solidarity with the world, the living of faith in tensions, and practical compassion are identified as central to these voices. By bringing these into conversation with magisterial reading and the political theology of Johann Baptist Metz, these themes are more deeply theologically articulated and made explicit, resulting in the preliminary articulation of a 'home grown' and liveable spirituality for mission in today’s world. In all this, what becomes clear is the potential for the domestic church to become, itself, a teaching church, from which the wider family of the church has much to learn.

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