The Project on Lived Theology was established in the summer of 2000 with a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment. Our mission is to clarify the interconnection of theology and lived experience and by so doing, to offer academic resources to the pursuit of social justice and human flourishing.
With more than 400 alumni of our workgroups and programs, the Project offers a variety of familiar and unconventional spaces where students, theologians and scholars of religion can collaborate with practitioners and non-academics. We produce books, scholarly and popular essays, field reports, oral histories, and other resources that plumb the theological depth and detail of lived experience.
It is our conviction that the patterns and practices of religious communities offer rich and generative material for theological inquiry. These patterns and practices are not just ways of "doing things" (as the historian Wayne Meeks has written in one of his essential studies of early Christian communities), but they are also ways of "saying things": practices and patterns are "communicative".
As theologians and scholars of religion, we further believe that, properly interpreted, the lived experiences of faith are communicative not only of a religious community's collective self-understanding but of modes of divine presence as well.
The Project further endeavors to demonstrate the importance of theological ideas in the public conversation about civic responsibility and social progress.
Theology matters, now more than ever, and it is our hope not only to provide analytical attention to religion's role in shaping human behavior, but further to retrieve valuable resources from the Christian faith and its particular conceptions of God and the good, and more broadly from the shared beliefs and values of the Abrahamic tradition, which assist students, scholars and practitioners in the work of building just and compassionate communities.
The Virginia Seminar in Lived Theology is a national workgroup of theologians, scholars, practitioners and religion writers, working together on eight single-authored books.
The Spring Institute for Lived Theology is an annual institute for theologians, scholars, and practitioners focused on issues of faith and social practice.
The Civil Rights Movement as Theological Drama provides personal interviews, as well as annotated bibliographic entries of documentary evidence. This cohesive body of information demonstrates the struggles of peacemaking, community building, and lived theology during a pivotal moment in history.