The Story of Child Theology
At an international conference (“Cutting Edge III”) of Christians involved with children at risk in 2000, the participants responded to one of the papers by asking over 200 heartfelt theological questions. The conference asked for further theological reflection on these questions, which eventually led to what is now called Child Theology.
In Penang in 2002, a group met with participants from every continent, male and female, practitioners and theologians/academics. It proved to be a seminal event both for those who gathered and for the process of Child Theology. The report of the consultation was presented to and endorsed by the 2002 Cutting Edge IV conference. Meanwhile, contact was established with the many groups, institutions and movements who had already been engaging in Christian child-related activity and some degree of theological reflection.
Since then, consultations have been held in South Africa, USA, England, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Brazil, Ecuador, Sweden, Australia, Nepal and India with similar mixed groups of people gathered around a table to explore what it means to put a child in the midst of theological issues in particular cultures and contexts. Reports of these consultations have also been published in both electronic and hard copy form and may be purchased from this website (as may all our publications) for delivery by post.
A charitable company has been established to facilitate the process with particular reference to ensuring that people from the two-thirds world could be full participants in a truly global process.
In June 2004 and 2006, the second and third international consultations in Penang reflected on the process thus far, took part in the opening of the CH.I.L.D. Resource Center, and considered strategic options and directions for the future.
What is “Child Theology”
Jesus put a child in the centre of the disciples when they were having a theological argument about greatness in the kingdom of God. It is plain that Jesus thought the child’s presence would give the disciples a clue to the essential truth they were missing.
Occasionally over the centuries, the child has disturbed theologians at work, but has not been in a position to shape theology consistently.
In Child Theology, we are invited to take good note of the child in the midst as we think about, for, to, from and with God in Christ. As we do that, we expect our theology to change for the better. In Child Theology, we embark afresh on the journey with Christ into the open secret of God in the world.
How CTM works
The Child Theology Movement works primarily by consultation. This means facilitating open exploratory discussion, out of which will come refreshed and new networks and alliances, contextually aware, identifying and appreciating any child theology which is already being practised, and developing and enriching it.
CTM is not an ideology being disseminated from a central point. It is a servant of free responsible thinking disciples who is seeking the Kingdom of God and wants to work at theology with the child in the midst.
So CTM works as a movement in conversation with varied persons, groups, organisations and churches. Conversation can be theoretical and practical, critical and cooperative, down-to-earth and as open as the call to the kingdom of God.
CTM is encouraging relevant publications, such as books, booklets and articles. Three booklets have been published introducing Child Theology in general, describing the method of child theology as currently practised and developing ideas on Child Theology in a specifically Asian context. More booklets are planned.
In addition, CTM is cooperating with seminaries to develop curricula so that Child Theology becomes a regular strand in all theological and mission training.