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Happiness and the Christian Moral Life suggests that the heart of Christian ethics are not elements such as laws and rules and principles and obligations, but is an ongoing initiation into a way of life capable of making a person good and therefore, happy. These elements are important, but they should never overshadow what ought to be the principal concern of Christian ethics: how to form us into people who love the good and seek it in everything we do. Paul Wadell re-envisions the basic elements of Christian morality in light of the conviction that the Christian moral life can be most promisingly described as "training in happiness." This book explores the place of friendship in the Christian moral life, the role of the virtues in our quest for happiness, a Christian understanding of the person, the meaning of freedom in the Christian life, and the importance of narrative for Christian ethics, including what it might mean to "put on" the story that comes to us in Jesus. Also examined are the role of conscience and prudence, its primary virtue; a Christian understanding of love; and why in the Christian life, happiness is impossible without justice.
Chapter 1 Finding a Path for Life: The Quest for Goodness and Happiness Chapter 2 Not Going It Alone: Friendship in the Christian Moral Life Chapter 3 Facing Shipwreck and Bandits: Virtues and the Quest for Happiness Chapter 4 Every Person's Truth: Made in the Image of God, Called to Do the Work of God Chapter 5 Freedom: Exploring a Dangerous Topic Chapter 6 False Steps on the Path to Happiness: Losing Our Way and Finding It Back Chapter 7 Finding a Story Worth Handing On: Narrative and the Moral Life Chapter 8 Doing What the Good Requires: Conscience and Prudence in the Moral Life Chapter 9 The Gift that Makes All Gifts Possible: Learning the Language of Love Chapter 10 Re-Imagining the World: Why the Happiness of One Demands Justice for All