Christianity

A theology of public life - download pdf or read online

By Charles T. Mathewes

ISBN-10: 0521832268

ISBN-13: 9780521832267

What has Washington to do with Jerusalem? within the raging debates in regards to the dating among faith and politics, not anyone has explored the spiritual advantages and demanding situations of public engagement for Christian believers - beforehand. This e-book defends and information Christian believers' engagement in modern pluralistic public lifestyles no longer from the point of view of a few impartial 'public', yet from the actual viewpoint of Christian religion, arguing that such engagement enriches either public existence and Christian voters' religion themselves. As such it deals now not a 'public theology', yet a 'theology of public life', analysing the promise and perils of Christian public engagement, discussing the character of civic dedication and prophetic critique, and the relation of a loving religion to a liberal politics of justice. Theologically wealthy, philosophically rigorous, politically, traditionally and sociologically expert, this booklet advances modern dialogue of 'religion and public lifestyles' in basic methods.

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It is not an apocalyptic jeremiad against contemporary public life or ‘‘modernity’’ in general. Modernity has led to much confusion and vexation. But it has also offered immense goods. This book talks about both. There are good reasons to worry about the drift of public life in conditions of late modernity; but there are also reasons for hope. Apocalyptic jeremiads of ritualized renunciation do little to help anyone with anything, beyond offering the false comfort of a Pharisaic purgation, which will need to be re-performed tomorrow.

Given our faith that God will be all in all, what does ‘‘life before God’’ look like today? Chapter 2 asks how we are supposed to inhabit ‘‘the world,’’ 3. See also Gen. ad litt. ’’ For contemporary analogues, see Placher 1996 and Milbank et al. 1999. 4. For the deep Pauline roots of this see Hubbard 2002. 33 34 A Theology of Public Life understood as creation as a whole, given this picture of life before God: given our hope that we will eventually see God’s sovereignty as governing all of history, how can we presently treat creation with respect for its relative integrity?

All of creation is a sentence that God has begun to speak, but which is not yet completed, and so we await its full meaning. Of course, we should beware the temptation towards antinomianism here as well. 14 The dangers of oversensitivity to the apocalyptic temptation may be as great as indifference to it: speaking of H. Richard Niebuhr, who powerfully voiced ‘‘Protestant’’ suspicions of any determinate expectation in eschatology, Harry Stout suggests that ‘‘the lopsided praise of movement to the virtual exclusion of order can yield the mistaken image of (to paraphrase him) a church without creeds bringing people without codes into a kingdom without structure through the ministrations of crises without end’’ (1989: 98).

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A theology of public life by Charles T. Mathewes


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