That is to say that all theology emerges out of a particular time and place by real people responding to the challenges and questions that matter to them and their communities.

While it can be tempting to believe that our inherited theology somehow transcends context, that is simply not the case. Those of us in the ‘post-modern’ West are currently experiencing the unravelling of the myth of a-contextual theology as our inherited theology comes into contact with the theological narratives of other contexts. What we are learning is the importance of putting our tradition into conversation with other traditions and embracing that exchange as both good and necessary.

A significant part of this unravelling is shifting the location of this theological conversation away from the academic spaces, which have largely been homogeneous, and into the very lived experiences of the whole community of faith. This isn’t to entirely de-legitimize the theological work that has been done by academics, but it is to say that if it does not take into consideration the actual lived context of the people of faith, it should not be taken seriously as true theology. Theology cannot and should not be done in isolation from the experiences of the community.