Theology is regarded as the domain of Church and academy: understandings of God that emerge from outside these establishments, if they are recognized at all, are often considered inferior. Yet it was beyond the walls of the city, outside the establishment, that some of the most significant events in Christian history took place.
Unofficial God? Acknowledges a variety of contemporary movements – cell churches, dialogue with other faiths and new forms of monasticism – as some examples of God’s vitality outside the walls, but focuses on the spirituality of the unchurched, theologies from overseas (including Korean minjung theology), applied theology, folk religion and the theology of music. The author argues that taking these seriously may revitalize the establishment, affecting the ways in which theological themes are chosen and theology is formulated, and in which the Church is organized.
Brian Castle has served as a parish priest in the UK and Zambia, and was a visiting tutor at the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches at Bossey, Geneva. When Vice-Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, he directed a mission and ministry programme. He is now Bishop of Tonbridge.
‘Brian Castle’s book is a timely reminder that the heart of Christian mission is our response to the God who is Spirit at work in the world. A distinctive contribution in the study is the insightful discussion of hymns, songs and spirituals and rock.’
Dean Irelands’s Professor of Exegesis of Holy Scripture, Oxford
‘Brian Castle’s wish to hear and share the “voices from beyond the walls” takes him to a wide spectrum of places and contexts, though never out of range of the life and faith and worship. The connections he makes between “insiders” and “outsiders” of the “city” of faith are refreshing and thought-provoking.’
Bishop of Worcester and Bishop to HM Prisons
Cover Image: Coming from the Mill by L.S. Lowry