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Coming Full Circle provides a working constructive dogmatics in Native Christian theology. Drawing together leading scholars in the field, this volume seeks to encourage theologians to reconsider the rich possibilities present in the intersection between Native theory and practice and Christian theology and practice. This innovative work begins with a Native American theory for doing constructive Christian theology and illustrates the possibilities with chapters on specific Christian doctrines in a “theology in outline.” This volume will make an important contribution representing the Native American voice in Christian theology.
Crow Christianity speaks in many voices, and in the pages of Crow Jesus, these voices tell a complex story of Christian faith and Native tradition combining and reshaping each other to create a new and richly varied religious identity. In this collection of narratives, fifteen members of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation in southeastern Montana and three non-Native missionaries to the reservation describe how Christianity has shaped their lives, their families, and their community through the years. Among the speakers are elders and young people, women and men, pastors and laypeople, devout traditionalists and skeptics of the indigenous cultural way. Taken together, the narratives reveal the startling variety and sharp contradictions that exist in Native Christian devotion among Crows today, from Pentecostal Peyotists to Sun-Dancing Catholics to tongues-speaking Baptists in the sweat lodge. Editor Mark Clatterbuck also offers a historical overview of Christianity’s arrival, growth, and ongoing influence in Crow Country, with special attention to Christianity’s relationship to traditional ceremonies and indigenous ways of seeing the world. In Crow Jesus, Clatterbuck explores contemporary Native Christianity by listening as indigenous voices narrate their own stories on their own terms. His collection tells the larger story of a tribe that has adopted Christian beliefs and practices in such a way that simple, unqualified designations of religious belonging—whether “Christian” or “Sun Dancer” or “Peyotist”—are seldom, if ever, adequate.
Faith, hope, and love, traditionally called theological virtues, are central to Christianity. This book renews faith, hope, and love in the context of the many contemporary challenges in many unique ways. It is an ecumenical collection of papers, equally divided between Catholic and Protestant positions, that seek to radically renew the classical doctrine of faith, hope, and love, and argues for their essential connection to the praxis of justice. It contains eight different approaches, each represented by a distinguished theologian and addressing different aspects of the issues and followed by insightful and critical responses. It does not merely seek to renew the theological virtues but to also reconstruct them in the demanding context of justice and the contemporary world, nor is it simply a treatise on justice but a theoretical and practical reflection on justice as vital expressions of faith in God, hope in God, and love of God. A non-dogmatic and non-ideological approach, it accommodates both conservative and liberal positions, and avoids the separation of the theological virtues from the demands of the contemporary world as well as the separation of justice talk from the theological context of faith, hope, and love. It seeks above all to renew, not merely repeat, the classical doctrine of faith, hope, and love in the contemporary context of the urgency of justice, and to do so ecumenically, comprehensively, and from a variety of perspectives and aspects.
Almost 200 contributors - a team of scholars from the United States, Europe and the British Commonwealth who are all experts in their subjects - have written over 300 major articles which the book contains. In addition, 166 'boxes' provide succinct summaries of information on a whole variety of issues, supplemented by a 'Who's Who' of key figures, along with illustrations, diagrams, maps, time chart, and a comprehensive index. The Guide assumes that its readers are completely unfamiliar with Christianity and is focused primarily on them: no word or idea goes unexplained. But at the same time it is based on a wealth of scholarship, so that it can serve as an authoritative reference work. And for those who do not just want information but an answer to the fundamental questions of evil, suffering, death and the meaning of life, it offers possible answers based on the resources of the Christian tradition.
Life at the end of the twentieth century presents us with a disturbing reality. Otherness, the simple fact of being different in some way, has come to be defined as in and of itself evil. Miroslav Volf contends that if the healing word of the gospel is to be heard today, Christian theology must find ways of speaking that address the hatred of the other. Reaching back to the New Testament metaphor of salvation as reconciliation, Volf proposes the idea of embrace as a theological response to the problem of exclusion. Increasingly we see that exclusion has become the primary sin, skewing our perceptions of reality and causing us to react out of fear and anger to all those who are not within our (ever-narrowing) circle. In light of this, Christians must learn that salvation comes, not only as we are reconciled to God, and not only as we "learn to live with one another," but as we take the dangerous and costly step of opening ourselves to the other, of enfolding him or her in the same embrace with which we have been enfolded by God. Is there any hope of embracing our enemies? Of opening the door to reconciliation? Miroslav Volf, a Yale University theologian, has won the 2002 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his book, Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Abingdon, 1996). Volf argues that "exclusion" of people who are alien or different is among the most intractable problems in the world today. He writes, "It may not be too much to claim that the future of our world will depend on how we deal with identity and difference. The issue is urgent. The ghettos and battlefields throughout the world--in the living rooms, in inner cities, or on the mountain ranges--testify indisputably to its importance." A Croatian by birth, Volf takes as a starting point for his analysis the recent civil war and "ethnic cleansing" in the former Yugoslavia, but he readily finds other examples of cultural, ethnic, and racial conflict to illustrate his points. And, since September 11, one can scarcely help but plug the new world players into his incisive descriptions of the dynamics of interethnic and international strife. Exclusion happens, Volf argues, wherever impenetrable barriers are set up that prevent a creative encounter with the other. It is easy to assume that "exclusion" is the problem or practice of "barbarians" who live "over there," but Volf persuades us that exclusion is all too often our practice "here" as well. Modern western societies, including American society, typically recite their histories as "narratives of inclusion," and Volf celebrates the truth in these narratives. But he points out that these narratives conveniently omit certain groups who "disturb the integrity of their 'happy ending' plots." Therefore such narratives of inclusion invite "long and gruesome" counter-narratives of exclusion--the brutal histories of slavery and of the decimation of Native American populations come readily to mind, but more current examples could also be found. Most proposed solutions to the problem of exclusion have focused on social arrangements--what kind of society ought we to create in order to accommodate individual or communal difference? Volf focuses, rather, on "what kind of selves we need to be in order to live in harmony with others." In addressing the topic, Volf stresses the social implications of divine self-giving. The Christian scriptures attest that God does not abandon the godless to their evil, but gives of Godself to bring them into communion. We are called to do likewise--"whoever our enemies and whoever we may be." The divine mandate to embrace as God has embraced is summarized in Paul's injunction to the Romans: "Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you" (Romans 15:7). Susan R. Garrett, Coordinator of the Religion Award, said that the Grawemeyer selection committee praised Volf's book on many counts. These included its profound interpretation of certain pivotal passages of Scripture and its brilliant engagement with contemporary theology, philosophy, critical theory, and feminist theory. "Volf's focus is not on social strategies or programs but, rather, on showing us new ways to understand ourselves and our relation to our enemies. He helps us to imagine new possibilities for living against violence, injustice, and deception." Garrett added that, although addressed primarily to Christians, Volf's theological statement opens itself to religious pluralism by upholding the importance of different religious and cultural traditions for the formation of personal and group identity. The call to "embrace the other" is never a call to remake the other into one's own image. Volf--who had just delivered a lecture on the topic of Exclusion and Embrace at a prayer breakfast for the United Nations when the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center--will present a lecture and receive his award in Louisville during the first week of April, 2002. The annual Religion Award, which includes a cash prize of $200,000, is given jointly by Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville to the authors or originators of creative works that contribute significantly to an understanding of "the relationship between human beings and the divine, and ways in which this relationship may inspire or empower human beings to attain wholeness, integrity, or meaning, either individually or in community." The Grawemeyer awards--given also by the University of Louisville in the fields of musical composition, education, psychology, and world order--honor the virtue of accessibility: works chosen for the awards must be comprehensible to thinking persons who are not specialists in the various fields.

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