The Project on Lived Theology

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Thu, 07/01/1999
End Date: 
Fri, 12/31/1999

Charles Marsh of the University of Virginia, & associates initiated the Project on Lived Theology to articulate the relationship between the lived religious experience of Christian communities and the theological work done in formal academic contexts such as seminaries and universities. Beginning with the assumption that there is a fundamental disconnect between theology done in academic institutions and the life of local Christian congregations and communities, Marsh and associates set up four workgroups comprising professional theologians and leaders of local Christian communities to study the ways in which theological commitments of faith communities are shaped and lived out in a particular local context. These workgroups were organized around themes that referenced the interaction between lived religious experience of local communities and academic theology. The workgroup on Lived Theology and Faith-Based Community Development explored the theological commitments and convictions underlying the work of community development through faith-based urban initiatives. The workgroup on Lived Theology and Racial perception engaged with the issue of how racial perceptions are formed and expressed in local faith communities. The workgroup on Lived Theology and the Responsible Use of Authority and Wealth addressed the issue of power and Christian existence in local faith communities. The workgroup on Lived Theology and Faith-Based Mental Health Communities explored the theological commitments underlying the work of faith-based psychiatric hospitals, counseling centers, and day care communities. The workgroups met at regular intervals over a three-year period initially; each of these workgroups engaged with their respective themes as embodied in specific local communities. As a whole, Marsh and associates aimed to bring to the fore the lived religious experience and enacted faith of local religious communities as a primary locus of theological reflection by scholars and thus to connect theology with the life of local faith communities with a view to clarifying and articulating their religious commitments. Besides the publication of papers and journal articles by workgroups, the ongoing work of the Project on Lived Theology is available on their website: