Difficult But Indispensable Church, The

Overview

Why is it so difficult to be church today? Of course, Christian community is marked by ennobling worship, mutual care, and joyful celebration. But just as often it is marred by staid routine, insularity, and disagreement over leadership, budgets, ethical stances, or even the shape of congregational prayer itself. Alienation, blame, and power struggles ensue. Is church worth it? In this volume of fresh thinking about life in Christian community, twenty-one theologians from Wartburg Seminary strongly attest to ...
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The Difficult but Indispensable Church

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Overview

Why is it so difficult to be church today? Of course, Christian community is marked by ennobling worship, mutual care, and joyful celebration. But just as often it is marred by staid routine, insularity, and disagreement over leadership, budgets, ethical stances, or even the shape of congregational prayer itself. Alienation, blame, and power struggles ensue. Is church worth it? In this volume of fresh thinking about life in Christian community, twenty-one theologians from Wartburg Seminary strongly attest to Christ-centered community, offering new views of church as the indispensable site of radical Christian commitment and an essential healer for a hurting world.

Reflective churchgoers will find here a virtual theological guide to church renewal. In part 1 the authors show how church can model an alternative vision of community, helping people achieve well-being and health, even as their differences are affirmed. Part 2 gets to the heart of Christian practice through creative discussions of belief, fellowship, encounters with Scripture, preaching, and moral deliberation. Part 3 finds the church in motion in new ways of understanding discipleship and mission near and far. Part 4 shows how a Christ-inspired openness can reveal new perspectives on tough issues of public policy, race and class, and ordination of gays and lesbians. Modeling what they espouse, the authors find unanimity in affirming the strengths of diversity, the unsuspected key to church renewal.

Contributors include: James L. Bailey, Karen L. Bloomquist, Norma Cook Everist, Roger W. Fjeld, Ann L. Fritschel, Paul Hill, Peter L. Kjeseth, L. Shannon Jung, Duane H. Larson, Elizabeth A. Leeper, David J. Lull,Craig L. Nessan, James R. Nieman, Daniel L. Olson, Winston Persaud, Duane A. Priebe, Ralph W. Quere, David A. Ramse, Gwen B. Sayler, Thomas H. Schattauer, and H. S. Wilson.

Author Biography: Editor Norma Cook Everist is Professor of Church and Ministry at Wartburg Theological Seminary. She is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American and also a member of the Lutheran Deaconess Community. Everist has authored Education Ministry in the Congregation and co-authored with her husband, Burton, Since You Asked, a book based on the column they write for The Lutheran magazine.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800634780
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Table of Contents

Contributors
Foreword
Introduction
1 Seeking Peace in the Assembly: God's Mission, Our Worship, and the World's Hope 3
2 Life Together Is Only in God: The Achievement of Personhood in Community 13
3 The Psalms: Individual Laments as Communal Hymns 23
4 The Well-being of Individuals and the Health of the Community 33
5 Re-Membering the Body of Christ: Creating Trustworthy Places to Be Different Together 45
6 The Pauline Letters as Models for Christian Practice: I Thessalonians as a Case Study 59
7 Believing in God through Others: Believing in God for Others 71
8 The Community of Faith as a Confessional Norm: Universalism and Evangelism 83
9 Living Together Faithfully with Our Different Readings of the Bible 93
10 Practice Where You Preach: Conditions for Good Preachers 105
11 Communio as a Basis for Moral Formation, Deliberation, and Action 115
12 We Are the Body of Christ: Ecclesiology for a Church in Mission 127
13 The Church as Organism: Characteristics of a Young Church 137
14 Mission as an Oriental Fan: A Plea for Missionhood of All Believers 149
15 Youth and Family Ministry as Congregational and Community Renewal 161
16 Discovering Hope: Marks of Vitality and Practices That Form Communities for Mission 171
17 American Civil Religion: A De Facto Church 181
18 Imagining the New Community in Christ and the Challenges of Race and Class 191
19 The Body of Christ and the Issue of Required Celibacy 199
20 Can This Community Live? A Historical and Contemporary Perspective 209
21 After the Jubilee: The Church's Advocacy Role 219
Afterword 229
Notes 231
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