Month: March 2023


Published / by Dean Eland

Working for the common good refers to the idea of promoting the well-being of all members of a community, rather than just pursuing individual or narrow group interests. It involves a commitment to the values of social justice, equity, and human dignity, and a recognition that we all have a stake in creating a better world for everyone.

Working for the common good requires a collaborative approach that involves working with others towards shared goals and outcomes. It involves recognizing and valuing the contributions of others and being willing to listen to diverse perspectives and experiences. It also requires a commitment to ethical principles and values, such as honesty, transparency, and accountability.

Some examples of working for the common good include:

  1. Advocating for policies that promote social justice and equity: This can involve advocating for policies that address issues such as poverty, inequality, and discrimination, and that promote the well-being of all members of society.
  2. Volunteering or donating to support community organizations: This can involve volunteering at a local food bank, donating to a community-based organization, or participating in a community service project.
  3. Building bridges across differences: This involves working to build relationships and understanding across social, cultural, and political divides, and finding common ground to work towards shared goals.
  4. Promoting sustainable and environmentally responsible practices: This involves recognizing our responsibility to care for the planet and future generations and working to promote sustainable and environmentally responsible practices.
  5. Supporting education and opportunities for all: This involves advocating for access to quality education and opportunities for all members of society, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status.

Overall, working for the common good is about recognizing that we are all connected and interdependent, and that we all have a role to play in creating a better world for everyone.

Chat-GPT 29 March 2023




Published / by Dean Eland

Public theology is an approach to theological reflection and engagement that seeks to address social, political, and cultural issues from a theological perspective. It is concerned with the intersection of religion and society and seeks to explore the implications of faith for public life.

At its core, public theology is about bridging the gap between faith and the wider public sphere and promoting dialogue and engagement between the church and society. This can involve addressing issues such as poverty, justice, peace, human rights, and the environment, and seeking to offer a theological perspective on these issues.

Public theologians often engage with a range of different disciplines, including philosophy, political science, sociology, and economics, in order to better understand the complex social and political dynamics at play in contemporary society. They may also work closely with community organizations, policy makers, and other stakeholders in order to have a tangible impact on public policy and discourse.

Overall, public theology is about using theological insights and perspectives to inform and shape public discourse and action, and to promote the common good.

ChatGPT 29 March 2023

Local Yet Connected: Towards An Ecclesiology for the Urban Context

Published / by Dean Eland

By Michael Crane

The nature and posture of the church in urban settings has been given too little attention. In many respects, churches function as if they are in tight-knit smaller towns, assuming mutual trust, established relationships, and community. Churches have given into superficial tribalizations (ethnic homogeneity, partisan political affiliations, and other more subtle ques like dress, jargon, or unexplained rituals). Well-intentioned churches are often slow to respond and engage swift-moving urban society.

In order for the church to thrive in the city, fresh thinking is necessary. Moreover, “structural differentiation” is exigent if the church aims to address needs in the broader society.

The phrase “local church” has gained popularity in usage in recent years, but seldom includes thoughtful reflection on the locality of the local church. The very notion of “local” is not easy to define. There is an argument to consider physical and nonphysical spaces as localities: “Locality today is rendered more complex because people live in both spatial and virtual neighborhoods.”

This blurred understanding of what is local pushes people to attachment with a particular place. “This social pattern of disintegration fosters our lifestyle, which means that it is very difficult to bring the differing parts of our lives together.”

Cities are full of diverse people spread over vast and complicated geography. I lived in the Los Angeles Metro Area where it can easily take an hour to go fifteen miles. Churches (particularly in the Free Church tradition) have had a tendency to be ruggedly independent, preferring to do everything on their own (it is perhaps another casualty of urban choice-driven culture). Churches as well as people can become individualistic. Lesslie Newbigin noted the negative outcome of this tendency: “When numerical growth is taken as the criterion of judgment on the church, we are transported with alarming ease into the world of the military campaign or the commercial sales drive.” How do we maintain a strong understanding of the local church while also addressing the needs of the city?