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Theology, Disability, and Spiritual Transformation: Learning from the Communities of ...

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Theology, Disability, and Spiritual Transformation:

Introduction

This study of spiritual transformation reflects a consistent set of questions that I have brought to the study of theology, personality, and spirituality over the last thirty years. These questions have traditionally been framed in terms of the nature of metanoia or religious conversion and its relationship to human development. With the emergence of Christian spirituality as a distinct academic discipline, however, questions of conversion are now being framed in terms of the meaning of spiritual “growth” and “transformation.” The notion of transformation has now also captured the imagination of contemporary scholars in other fields as diverse as theology, education, anthropology, medical science, and even management theory. Transformative “practices” have also become objects of scholarly interest and investigation, particularly in practical theology, as churches seek to recover their bearings in a radically secularized, pluralistic, and postmodern context. What is implied by the notion of spiritual transformation in these diverse fields? How is it to be understood in the context of the disciplines of practical theology and Christian spirituality in particular?