See, Judge, Act
Learning theology in a way has to be enjoyable and beneficial to the growth in faith and daily actions through an exploration of experiences as reflected from the Gospels and the Church’s teachings (Walton, 2002: 21). Green bases her model of theological reflection from Daniel Kolb, an educational psychologist who devised a method of adult learning through individual’s experience (Walton, 22). Exploration of experiences, feelings, and outcomes of actions to find an insight in faith and theology can be a source of inspiration so that others undergo a process of transformation according to the lived experience through a process of theological learning. The theological process of learning is not individualised interpretation of life experience concerning the Church’s teachings of the Gospel but in the presence of a group who share experiences according to a particular theme (Walton, 13). The group undergoes a conversation that involves active listening, discussion and dialogue to verify and affirm the relevance of reflection to daily life. The group creates an atmosphere of support and confirmation of foundational teaching appropriate to share with others and to act or live out the fruit of reflection on a day to day living.
Through the theological reflection, an open and transformational process moulds the person to live out and discover more possibilities of looking at the experience in a different lens but still using the Gospel narratives that are full of mystery and life. Green’s spiral model of theological reflection can be a source of faith formation or an adjunct to other structures of theological reflection that will help individuals flourish in faith and life while grounded under the teachings of the Church and the traditions. Relatively, the experience does not rely on the doctrine or particular interpretation of the doctrine of the Church. The exploration brings about essential values extracted from the experience that continues to mould the individual. Through the spiral model, the individual slowly transforms into a better being.
The theological reflection springs up from a theological circle where unique experiences of different individuals bring upon every discussion and dialogue. Different members of the group hold a variety of disciplines in the society; hence, different status, work backgrounds and diverse cultural identities participate in every dialogue. The output of every theological reflection undergoes a necessary process known to the group and the insight produced can be diverse and applicable to every unique individual with a different discipline from the rest.
This theological process brings members of Atravessados to come together every month. Each member is willing to participate and contribute to the theological reflection for the flourishing of the whole group. The principal question arises from each one on living a religious life as a layperson in the community where they belong. The conversation and dialogue happening in Casa Velha become the guide and source of insight in their day to day life in the city, at work, or in their homes.
The importance of experience with the group gave a context on how the theological reflection and process work in a real, well-formed group. The group puts into practice every aspect of the diagram or structure of Green’s theological process. In reality, Green’s theological process works in this context bringing the vital aspect of the teachings of Laudato Sí and live sustainably as each one goes back to their towns or cities. Green’s theological process encourages people to come together in faith and action and help individuals to reflect and adapt their experiences to their faith through the teachings of the Church (Green, 19). This model of theological reflection is worth recommending to other groups who seek a way to flourish in their faith in the present age.
Browning, D. (2000) Pastoral Theology in a Pluralistic Age in Pastoral and Practical Theology edited by James Woodward & Stephen Pattison. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Cahalan, K. (2010) Pastoral Theology or Practical Theology? Limits and Possibilities in Keeping Faith in Practice: Aspects of Catholic Pastoral Theology edited by James Sweeney, Gemma Simmonds, David Lonsdale. London: SCM Press
Green, L. (2009) Let’s Do Theology: Resources for Contextual Theology. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Walton, R. (2002) The teaching and learning of theological reflection: case studies of practice, Durham Theses, Durham University. Available at Durham E-theses online: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/1746/