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Western society today lives from community fragments and moral fragments alone, and these fragments are being destroyed more quickly than they are being replenished. Larry Rasmussen assesses the long-term reasons for this situation and then proposes the forms and tasks that churches can undertake to help mend and improve civil society. This book, which had its origin in the Hein/Fry Lectures in 1991—92, functions both as an assessment of the moral climate in America today and also as a proposal for the church in contemporary society.
The Church has a reservoir of wisdom and truth in the Bible, and a role to play in witnessing to that truth. The Bible is full of mandates and challenges that ask us, the disciples of Jesus Christ, to "Make our light shine, so that others may see our good works and give glory to our God in heaven" (Matt 5:16).The purpose of this book--written by 34 dedicated Christian scholars and community practitioners--is to help Christ's church to understand how this "world" and the people who live in it think, feel, and react to some of the issues they face in their daily lives, and how to bring peace, justice and compassion to the society that surrounds our homes, churches, and communities.Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God (Matt 5:9)." Shalom, which we translate as peace means more than the absence of conflict. To live in shalom, as a peacemaker, means we actively live our lives in a way that brings healing, wholeness, harmony and well being to the lives of people we meet.This is not a prescriptive book that will provide answers to all the social and missiological woes in society (though there will be some guidelines for how to start various ministries). Instead, the authors have attempted to describe some of the problems that exist in our societies and churches and have encouraged the readers as individuals, as well as groups, to find their own answers to many of the issues raised.Some of the issues raised will not be comfortable to discuss in Church circles, but we all hope that they will be treated with the same respect and compassion that Jesus gives in response to each one of our needs.
Church in Society is a refreshing and inspiring read, compelling both believers and non-believers to value religious rights. Don’s discerning message is a timely voice to both church and society. —Mary-Elsie Wolfe Author, Pastor, Speaker Don Hutchinson provides a sound rationale for the importance of Christian participation in helping shape a shared society focused on the common good. He extols Christian motivation, disapproves apathetic disinterest, and provides a practical guide for Christian engagement with public policy. A good read for those ready to reconsider the continuing value of the relationship between church and state. —Willard Metzger Executive Director, Citizens for Public Justice Like much of twenty-first-century Christianity, we have been influenced by the changing society in which we live. What if we could reverse that influence so that instead of changes in society influencing us, as Christians we influenced the changes in society? The first-century writers of the New Testament reveal a Christianity that adapted within its culture—even today, we Christians look like those around us. The early Christians lived a lifestyle that influenced changes in their society until over time the cultural shape of the Western world was referred to as having a Judeo-Christian heritage. What if instead of nostalgically looking back, like the Israelites on their journey from Egypt longing for a time that perhaps never really was, we deliberately chose to learn the lessons chronicled by Christian citizens of the first century and look forward? This book is about looking forward to a future neighbourhood, city, nation, and world influenced by the way we live our lives, person by person, Christian by Christian, congregation by congregation, denomination by denomination, as the Church in society. Citizenship is about more than politics, and Christian citizenship is about even more.
CHURCH IN SOCIETY / PERSPECTIVES OF AN ANABAPTIST PASTORWhile doing the last entry in this book, entitled WHICH WAY?, I was queried about my intended audience. My reply? Oprah Winfrey, and President Obama. Seriously. I would love to garner their responses to that section. I also wish I could have said, "Christopher Reeve." But it was too late for that. You, the reader, will be limited to his own brief description of his faith (page 266), as quoted from The Readers' Digest, October, 2004, and to my response. If I were asked the question today, I would add, "Glenn Beck." Is that a different side of the story? Or can vastly different philosophies sprout from a common stem?Twenty-first century America: Can we be bothered with sobering questions, as to how we've missed the way? Can blind pursuit of personal pleasures and comforts be deferred, while we seek the reality of that which would satisfy the soul? Are we willing to be disturbed now, in order to embrace costly solutions to deadly personal and societal problems?Where to look? Truth. Truth is unwavering, and impervious to attack. Truth will not step down to take sides. Granted permission, truth assumes command, and sifts everything. It demands full surrender first, and sets free afterward. It replaces self assurance with humility, and hatred with compassion. It gives corrected vision through lenses of love and courage.Musty stuff? It isn't. Truth is ultimate treasure, embodied in the eternal God, and in his Son, Jesus Christ. Our fall into untruth is what moved Jesus Christ to bridge the chasm when we were all on the losing side. He is "the way, the truth, and the life."Lester TroyerAnd yes, I would like to know how you are doing.E-mail address: [email protected]
This book is about looking forward to a future neighbourhood, city, nation, and world influenced by the way we live our lives, person by person, Christian by Christian, congregation by congregation, denomination by denomination, as the Church in society.
One of the leading theologians of our time, Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., has written and lectured on a wide range of topics across his distinguished career, and for a wide range of audiences. Integrating faith and scholarship, he has created a rich body of work that, in the words of one observer, is “both faithful to Catholic tradition and fresh in its engagement with the contemporary world.” Here, brought together for the first time in one volume, are the talks Cardinal Dulles has given twice each year since the Laurence J. McGinley Lectures were initiated in 1988, conceived broadly as a forum on Church and society. The result is a diverse collection that reflects the breadth of his thinking and engages with many of the most important—and difficult—religious issues of our day. Organized chronologically, the lectures are often responses to timely issues, such as the relationship between religion and politics, a topic he treated in the last weeks of the presidential campaign of 1992. Other lectures take up questions surrounding human rights, faith and evolution, forgiveness, the death penalty, the doctrine of religious freedom, the population of hell, and a whole array of theological subjects, many of which intersect with culture and politics. The life of the Church is a major and welcome focus of the lectures, whether they be a reflection on Cardinal Newman or an exploration of the difficulties of interfaith dialogue. Dulles responds frequently to initiatives of the Holy See, discussing gender and priesthood in the context of church teaching, and Pope Benedict’s interpretation of Vatican II. Writing with clarity and conviction, Cardinal Dulles seeks to “render the wisdom of past ages applicable to the world in which we live.” For those seeking to share in this wisdom, this book will be a consistently rewarding guide to what it means to be Catholic—indeed, to be a person of any faith—in a world of rapid, relentless change.

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