Free to Leave, Free to Stay: Fruits of the Spirit and Church Choice

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Our known world, the world of twenty-first century Americans, is shaped and defined by consumer choice. The premise of consumer choice is that somewhere the perfect fit between product and purchaser exists. In the books on changing traditions the consumerist tone prevails--fundamentalists looking for an even more literal interpretation of Scripture, Protestants ""going home"" to Rome, feminists heading to the womyncentric sacred grove, conservatives fleeing ...
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Overview

Description:
Our known world, the world of twenty-first century Americans, is shaped and defined by consumer choice. The premise of consumer choice is that somewhere the perfect fit between product and purchaser exists. In the books on changing traditions the consumerist tone prevails--fundamentalists looking for an even more literal interpretation of Scripture, Protestants ""going home"" to Rome, feminists heading to the womyncentric sacred grove, conservatives fleeing inclusive rites, Catholics embracing the independent seeker church. But the consumerist impulse masks the kind of prayer and discernment necessary for living in Christian community and for following God. Twenty-first century Christians do make choices, but the hope is that they do so because they follow God. How then is one to answer the question of whether to stay or leave? Through meditating on the fruits of the Spirit that Paul addressed to the church at Galatia, a community that had several of its members wondering whether to stay or leave, Bennett and Nussbaum offer sage reflections about what it means to be led into and out of Christian communions.

Endorsements:
""A friend of mine once said, 'You have an aisle seat in the Methodist Church.' He was right. Like many I have struggled with the question if I should stay or leave the church that formed me and that I love. So many seem to be dissatisfied with their church these days that the movement among churches is dizzying. Liberal Catholics become Episcopalians. Evangelicals turn to Orthodoxy. Nazarenes find freedom with the Methodists. But is this constant back and forth a sign of sin or can it be faithful? Does it violate the need for a vow of stability? Bennett and Nussbaum offer us a careful, biblically grounded means of discerning how we might be 'free to leave' or 'free to stay' in the context of the fruits of the Spirit. No one should jump from one church to another without spending significant time with these deeply considered reflections. Hopefully, as Bennett and Nussbaum themselves point out, this will be done in the presence of others.""
--D. Stephen Long, Marquette University

""Searingly honest and beautifully written, Bennett and Nussbaum have given us a book, an amazingly gentle and peaceful book, about the painfully difficult decision they made when they became Roman Catholic. This book, I believe, is destined to be a classic.""
--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

About the Contributor(s):
Jana Marguerite Bennett is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton. She is the author of Water Is Thicker than Blood: An Augustinian Theology of Marriage and Singleness (2008).

Melissa Musick Nussbaum is a regular contributor to the liturgical journals Celebration and GIA Quarterly. She is the author of six books and numerous articles. Her work has appeared in Commonweal, Notre Dame Magazine, and National Catholic Reporter. She is a contributor to Take Heart: Catholic Writers on Hope in Our Time (2007).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556358999
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Pages: 124
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jana Marguerite Bennett is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton. She is the author of Water Is Thicker than Blood: An Augustinian Theology of Marriage and Singleness (2008).Melissa Musick Nussbaum is a regular contributor to the liturgical journals Celebration and GIA Quarterly. She is the author of six books and numerous articles. Her work has appeared in Commonweal, Notre Dame Magazine, and National Catholic Reporter. She is a contributor to Take Heart: Catholic Writers on Hope in Our Time (2007).

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Table of Contents

List of Devotional Interludes vi

Authors'Note vii

Introduction 1

1 Choice Nussbaum 9

2 Self-control Nussbaum 18

3 Faithfulness Bennett 27

4 Gentleness Bennett 40

5 Kindness Nussbaum 51

6 Goodness Bennett 59

7 Patience Bennett 70

8 Peace Nussbaum 81

9 Joy Bennett 89

10 Love Nussbaum 102

Conclusion 109

Bibliography 113

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