Varieties of Personal Theology starts from the premise that all human beings are folk theologians, active t only in constructing selves but also in constructing worlds and guiding philosophies of life.Through fascinating indepth interviews and surveys, David Gortner looks specifically at 'emerging adults' (aged 18-25) as young theologians who, regardless of religious background, wrestle with fundamental questions of place, purpose, ultimate cause, and ultimate aims in life. This book charts the subtle and significant influences of social class, family, school, work, peer relationships, religion, and intrinsic attitudes and dispositions on young adults' personal theologies, and traces the ways their personal theologies connect with choices they make in their daily lives - in education, jobs, leisure, and relationships.Intentionally crossing boundaries between religious and social science fields, Gortner combines perspectives from both to demonstrate how theological diversity persists in America despite some clear culturally dominant trends. This book reveals how American young adults are active theologians forging diverse ways of seeing and being in the world - shaped by their experiences and in turn continuing to shape their choices in life.
The Revd Dr David Gortner is the Director of the Doctor of Ministry programs at Virginia Theological Seminary and Professor of Evangelism and Congregational Studies. As a developmental and organizational psychologist, he has led interdisciplinary research projects in studies of young adult social development, new young adult religious movements, and clergy leadership effectiveness religious community development at the University of Chicago and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. As a pastor, he has served in churches, hospitals, and hospice and college settings, with a particular focus on early adulthood. He has served as professor of pastoral theology at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He is the author of Transforming Evangelism (Church Publishing 2007), Around One Table (CREDO Institute, 2009: web publication), and a series of articles on clergy leadership development.