Start here

Metaphors we research by: the researcher as stomach

Those who have sat in on my Metaphors We Lead By lecture on the Introduction to Global Leadership module know I love a good metaphor.

One of the reasons for this is that images and metaphors can provide ways of (re)imagining who we are and what we do that would be hard to discern in more ‘direct’ descriptions. If I were to ask you, ‘Who are you as a researcher? How do you understand your role? What is your vision for your research?’ I wonder what you would say. Would you know where to start? But what if I were to ask you, ‘What body part best describes you as a researcher?’, maybe that would get your imaginative juices flowing.

What are the images we use (consciously or unconsciously) that (could) describe and shape us as researchers? In today’s post I want to offer one image for a researcher that you may find helpful.

Researcher as stomach.

In a recent article D.A. Carson describes the role of Pastor-Teachers the following way:

‘I have often tried to show that the role of the pastor-teacher in the NT is not that of a special-class mediator, but something akin to the role of a stomach within the body: the stomach takes in a lot of food and distributes it to the rest of the body. I lose all my dignity (and, better, any pomposity) when I am seen, not as a priest, but as a stomach.’ (pp. 6-7)

Could we appropriate this image for the researcher as well? Our role as researchers in the context of mission is to take data (literature, qualitative, quantitative, etc) and digest it in such a way that it becomes nutritious for God’s people as we participate together in God’s mission. It isn’t necessarily glamorous but God can use it to sustain and energise people for what he has called them to do. Could this be a helpful way of seeing yourself and what you are doing?

What other images can you think of?


Carson, D.A. (2015) ‘Editorial: Why the Local Church Is More Important Than TGC, White Horse Inn, 9Marks, and Maybe Even ETS‘, Themelios 40.1 (2015), pp. 1–9

More open access journal titles discovered!

We are always on the lookout for open access journals and sometimes we come across directories that list large numbers of titles. The Open Access Journal Search Engine is a case of the latter. Although it ceased adding titles in 2012 there is still a large number to browse.

For ease of use for our students and staff (and other very welcome readers!), I’ve listed below a few of the subject areas that relate to our five MA programmes in Field Linguistics, Literacy Programme Development, Contemporary Missiology, Global Leadership in Intercultural Contexts, and Member Care. I’ve set them as hyperlinks and also included the number of journals listed in the category in brackets.


Anthropology (39)
Business and Management (163)
Ecology (30)
Economics (109)
Education (286)
Ethnology (6)
Gender studies (16)
Languages and Literatures (149)
Linguistics (63)
Migration (4)
Psychology (68)
Religion (46)
Social Sciences (112)
Sociology (54)

Browsing over 32,000 theology articles for free

Theology on the Web is a collection of sites that provide free access to scholarly works relating to the associated fields of Theology, including Missiology. Here’s the main website’s explanation:


To make high quality theological freely material available throughout the world, thus providing Bible teachers and pastors with the resources they need to spread the Gospel in their countries. This is achieved by:

Digitising and uploading in co-operation with authors and publishers, rare and out-of-print theology books and articles. Over 32,000 articles are now available for free download.

Providing detailed bibliographies for Seminary level students and ministers.

Providing a single cross-linked resource made up of seven websites, some of which are under development.

These are: hosts over 25,000 full text theological articles linked into bibliographies on each book of the Bible. It also covers such subjects as hermeneutics, biblical languages, criticism, language, etc. – in short almost everything connected with the Bible and its study. throws its net slightly wider, providing material on a range of theologies and theologians, as well as specific doctrines such as the Trinity, for example. The section on practical theology seeks to provide material on how theology is applied in daily life, in such areas as politics and ethics. covers church history until the rise of the medieval Papacy (c.600 AD). takes over where leaves off, covering church history from the rise of the Papacy to the time of the Reformation. – covers church history during and after the Reformation. provides material relating to the archaeology of the lands of the Bible. provides resources for students of Christian missions from the first Century onwards [currently under development].

Cross-linking of subjects mean that a student studying baptism (for example) would be able to move from the baptism of Jesus, to baptism in the early church, the medieval church and then to how it is understood by a range of modern theologians.

Missio Dei journal issue on Member Care

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 16.53.23Missio Dei is one of the free to access journals we have highlighted in our eResources section (see tab above). It touches on a whole range of topics but the one I want to highlight today is issue 6.1 (Feb 2015), which had a focus on Member Care

Here are the contents:



Greg McKinzie, “Careful Missions” (Editorial Preface to the Issue)

Philip Slate, “Clyde Neal Austin (1931–2014): Pioneer in Missionary Care among North American Churches of Christ”

Stephen Allison, “Contemporary Practices of Missionary Care within Churches of Christ”

Jackie Halstead, “Encounter with God: A Theological Reflection on Missionary Care”

Sonny Guild, “Seamless, Comprehensive Missionary Care: Pre-, On-, and Post-Field Care for Teams”

Will Walls, “Managing Stress and Burnout on the Mission Field”

Verna Weber, “Seven Reentry Challenges for Families”

Beth Reese, “Training for Transitions”

Laura Allen, “Missionary Children and Reentry”

Jeremy Harrison, “Missionary Care: Triage or Wellness Checks?”

Dottie Schulz, “Resources for Missionary Care”

Dale Hawley, “Missionary Care: An Annotated Bibliography”

Elaine Storkey on understanding and overcoming violence against women

upload_34460-210x323Elaine Storkey has recently published what looks like an important book, Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women. I highlight it here to let you know about it, especially those working on dissertations in related areas.

Here are the blurb, a trailer produced by the book’s publisher, SPCK, and a list of its contents.

“An in-depth exploration of the breadth, intensity and root causes of gender-based violence against women, and the resources we need to drawn on in order to make a meaningful and effective stand against it.

Published to coincide with the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November 2015), Scars Across Humanity is a thoroughly documented investigation into the causes of violence against women, past and present. Global in scope, and addressing the issues as they affect women at every stage of life, this powerful book also offers a probing critique of evolutionary and social-scientific accounts of gender-based violence, and of the role that religion can play, for good or ill, in the struggle against this worldwide problem.”

Introduction: naming the problem
1.  A global pandemic
2.  Violence begins before birth: selective abortion and infanticide
3.  Cut for purity: female genital mutilation
4.  Early and enforced marriage: child abuse by another name
5.  Whose ‘honour’? Killings and femicide as reprisals for shame
6.  Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide: violence in the home
7.  Money, sex and violence: trafficking and prostitution
8.  Rape
9.  War and sexual violence
10.  Why gender-based violence? It’s in our genes: exploring our evolutionary heritage
11.  Why gender-based violence? Power and patriarchy
12.  Religion and women
13.  Christianity and gender: a fuller picture



Free access to study skills tips by Palgrave publishers

Palgrave websiteOne of the ways you can develop and consolidate your study skills is to access books and website on the topic. The publishers Palgrave, for example, have a Student Study Skills section on their website. Obviously they are hoping that students and libraries will buy books from their ranges (fair enough!) but they provide a number of concise tips on topics such as Critical Thinking and Research Methods.

To give you a flavour, the page on Critical and Analytical Thinking Skills includes brief pointers under the following headings:

What is critical and analytical thinking?

Identifying the main line of reasoning in what you read or write

Critically evaluating the line of reasoning for what you read or write

Identifying hidden agendas in your sources and in your own writing

Evaluating evidence in the text

Looking for bias

Identifying the writer’s conclusions

Critical skills when writing

So, check it out and do let us know if you come across similar useful resources online.

Free Access to New Urban World Journal

New Urban World journalI’ve just come across the New Urban World Journal, which is freely accessible online and published twice a year. It has included topics such as Business as Mission, Integral Urban Mission, Money and Urban Mission, and Urban Challenges to Learning.Here is the blurb from the New Urban World Journal website:

New Urban World is the official journal of the International Society for Urban Mission. This magazine-style journal aims to amplifyvoices for urban Christian discipleship and transformation in cities with the broader Church and society. It especially seeks to engage and inspire emerging urban Christian leaders and highlight the new challenges urban slums pose Christian faith and mission. New Urban World includes scholarly articles, in addition to accessible news, stories, opportunities for involvement, reviews, poetry and pictures from diverse urban Christians.

Compared with many academic disciplines, Missiology is brilliantly served with freely accessible journals (eBooks still have some way to go, though). We’ve listed them on the eResources page but if you come across others that should be included do let us know.