Christianity and Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and Possibilites of Faithful Witness / Edition 1

Christianity and Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and Possibilites of Faithful Witness / Edition 1

by Luke Bretherton
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1405199687

ISBN-13: 9781405199681

Pub. Date: 12/29/2009

Publisher: Wiley

Through insightful case studies of faith-based organizations, Christian political activism, and welfare provision in the West, this innovative, informative, and wide-ranging book shows how Christians can engage politically in a multi-faith, liberal democracy. The case studies include assessments of initiatives such as community organizing, fair trade, and the

Overview

Through insightful case studies of faith-based organizations, Christian political activism, and welfare provision in the West, this innovative, informative, and wide-ranging book shows how Christians can engage politically in a multi-faith, liberal democracy. The case studies include assessments of initiatives such as community organizing, fair trade, and the Sanctuary movement.

Bretherton integrates debates in political theology with analysis of policy and practice regarding religious social, political, and economic engagement in the USA, UK, and continental Europe, but avoids presenting an idealized archetype for church-state relations. Instead, he engages with the intricacies of contemporary politics while integrating systematic and historical theological reflection on political and economic life. The book delineates the ways in which "faithful witness" and the forging of a common good - at local, national, and global levels - emerge through a dynamic of listening, judgment, and proclamation between Christians and those of other faiths and of no faith. Rather than advocate withdrawal or assimilation, the book reveals how faithful witness can help prevent the subversion of the church - and even of politics itself - by legal, bureaucratic, and market mechanisms.

Relations between religious and political spheres continue to stir passionate debates on both sides of the Atlantic. Through a combination of theological reflection and empirical case studies, Bretherton succeeds in offering timely and invaluable insights into these important issues affecting our society today.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781405199681
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
12/29/2009
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface x

Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction 1

The Terms and Conditions of Political Life 6

Religion and Postsecular Politics 10

Theological Politics and the Ecclesial-Turn 16

Summary of Aims and Methodology 18

1 Faith-Based Organizations and the Emerging Shape of Church-State Relations 31

Introduction 31

"Working Together": The Shaping of Relations between the State and Religious Groups in a Multi-Faith Society 32

Social Cohesion, Social Capital, and the "Salvation" of Civil Society 37

Liberalism and the Continuing Requirements of Public Reason 45

Theological Politics and the Question of What Constitutes Faithful Witness 53

Ecclesiology and the Political Mission of the Church 53

Summary 57

2 Local: Augustine, Alinsky, and the Politics of the Common Good 71

Introduction 71

The Alinsky Approach: The Work of Broad-Based Community Organizing 73

Eschatology, Politics, and the Mutual Ground of the Saeculum 81

Christian Realism Redivivus? 88

A Thomistic Democratic Politics? 91

Reweaving Civil Society 94

Politics without Piety Is Pitiless; Piety without Politics Is Pitiful 96

Summary 104

3 National: Christian Cosmopolitanism, Refugees, and the Politics of Proximity 126

Introduction 126

Theological Politics and the Liberal Democratic Response to Refugees 127

i Definitions and the priority of refugees 127

ii The duty of care to near and distant neighbors 129

Refugees as Bare Life 137

Bare Life and the Limits of Humanitarianism 141

Hallowing Bare Life: A Doxological Response 142

Hallowed Be Thy Name 145

i Bare life as gift 146

ii Bare life as judgment 148

iii Bare life as promise 150

Sanctuary: The Practice of Hallowing Bare Life 152

Summary 158

4 Global: Consumerism, Fair Trade, and the Politics of Ordinary Time 175

Introduction 175

Defining Political Consumerism 176

Consumerism and the Formation of Desire 178

Political Consumerism as Apprenticeship in the Virtues 181

Political Consumerism as Neighbor Love 183

Fair Trade as Contradiction 184

i Re-prioritizing the social 185

ii Reestablishing place 186

Fair Trade, Globalization and the Emergence of Political Consumerism 187

Ordinary Politics and the Peace of Babylon 189

i Political consumerism as penultimate politics 189

ii Political consumerism as bricolage 190

iii Political consumerism as ordinary politics 192

Summary 199

Conclusion: Toward a Politics of Hospitality and a Theology of Politics 210

Epilogue 221

Bibliography 224

Index 242

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