Theological Librarians and the Cultivation of Belonging

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Chris Paige


Drawing together critique of theological education (Willie Jame Jennings) with care ethics (Joan Tronto), this essay unpacks the important role of care and belonging in theological education. Rather than basing belonging in shared identity, homogeneity, tolerance, or loyalty, this essay argues that practices of care are what allow belonging to emerge and be sustained. The essay then identifies theological librarians as exemplars of what Jennings calls “the art of cultivating belonging.” While not a full proposal for rejuvenation of theological education, this essay draws connections between critical pedagogy, Jennings’ pedagogy of belonging, library science, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in a way that sparks further dialogue about the essentials of theological formation in the 21st century.

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