EFM: Education for Ministry, New Zealand
Theological Reflection

The Process of Theological Reflection

The process of theological reflection moves through four phases:

 

Identify
Explore
Connect
Apply

 

Identify involves choosing or identifying a starting point for a TR, from one of the four sources. The first TR method identified in the new EfM curriculum starts from the Tradition source, using a passage of scripture. At this stage in the process, a metaphor or image may be identified to represent a key theme or sharpen the focus of the reflection.

Explore uses searching questions to examine the first element/image/metaphor more closely, teasing out what it involves, what it means, and what that “world” is all about.

 

Connect involves making and discovering connections or contrasts with the other three sources of TR.

 

Apply, the last phase of the process, involves identifying insights and implications for personal, or corporate, action. These insights might emerge quickly, or unfold slowly. Sometimes the “fruit” of the TR process only becomes apparent later, as participants reflect on some of the issues that emerged as they go about their daily lives. 


Methods of Theological Reflection

Throughout the four years of EfM, mentors guide group members in the discipline of theological reflection. A range of methods is modelled and explored during the course of a year’s study.

 

Some methods used in the curriculum are:

 

Theological Reflection beginning with Scripture

An Individual Theological Reflection process (starting from an everyday incident)

Theological Reflection beginning with a Personal Position

Dilemma Method (starting with an issue that contains tension)

Wide-Angle Lens Method (starting with a theme or common idea)

Theological Reflection beginning with a Mind Map

Theological Reflection beginning with a Provocative Word.