Mutuality Matters / Edition 272

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Married and family life around the world has undergone a revolution in the last several decades: the radical democratization of intimacy in spousal and parent-child relationships. Previous principles of hierarchy, inequality, and duty that defined the relationships between husband, wife, and children have been challenged and often replaced by more fluid bonds of equality, intimacy, emotional self-disclosure, communication, and mutual trust. The key question that has emerged for our times, then, is how exactly do families sustain genuine mutuality, democracy, and strong relationships? Figuring out good answers to this question is the major theme of this book and the origin of the title Mutuality Matters. Three common strategies for creating just marriages have arisen: political and legal reform, smarter negotiating by women, and new cultural perceptions of marriage. While the authors in this book attend to all three strategies to different degrees, the primary focus is the third strategy: changing our cultural understanding of women and men in marriage. Moreover, to effect genuine cultural change, the authors recognize the need to enlist the help of religion as a key culture-forming element. Mutuality has become a common way for theologians from a variety of perspectives to talk about a more just love, a love that combines affection and justice. But many questions have been left unanswered: What exactly do people believe they have promised when they align themselves with Christian claims about love in their rituals of marriage and partnership? Do Christian views of love include the ideal of justice in marriage? Because accommodation or sacrifice is inevitable in any intimate human community, how can families insure that it will be mutual and just? How is marriage strengthened if justice is added to love at the core of mutuality? What does mutuality mean across time and distance, when participants are parents and children, when fathers are absent, when parents should be honored, or within a violent context? Is it possible to have democratic families without mutual sacrifice? Can submission be mutual? On these and other questions, the authors of this volume claim distinctive responsibility for rethinking Christian convictions about love and family life around the theme of mutuality and for strengthening the ministry of religious communities as those communities seek to empower and support families in their practice of mutuality. The essays written for this volume reflect the development of practical theology as one method for exploring the religious meanings of family and enhancing the practice of family living by 1) assuming that all theory has implications for practice and all practices are theory laden and 2) drawing into dialogue the knowledge and interpretations of a variety of perspectives including philosophy, biblical criticism, anthropology, liturgical studies, pastoral care, ethics, cross-cultural studies, and religious education. This collection of essays is noteworthy for both this interdisciplinary scope and its richly ecumenical representation.

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Editorial Reviews

Gloria H. Albrecht
An important collection of essays focused on the challenge facing Christians of the 21st century: re-conceiving Christian love, particularly within families and between intimates, as radically egalitarian. From philosophical and theological defenses of the place of equality in the practice of love to descriptions of concrete practices within families and congregations, these essays are a thoughtful contribution on the side of gender justice to the on-going family values debate.
Joseph Gillespie
Like good wine and cheese, Herbert Anderson and his colleagues seem to get better with age. Sitting down to this feast of ideas, especially the appetizing concept of mutuality within marriage and family, allows the reader to nibble and sip with curiosity and delight. At the heart of this intellectual menu can be found Anderson's rich imagination, clinical experience and refreshing honesty. The critical ingredients of love, justice, forgiveness, respect, spirituality, and mutuality explored by contributing authors provide the recipe for a text that is not only mutually satisfying, but also one worth preserving.
William Hiebert
Finally a book dealing with a major revolution in our country and the world! Old concepts of marriage have given way to more fluid bonds of equality, communication and trust. This book explores issues of the mutuality of love, justice and gender relations in the context of marriage, pastoral ministry and congregational life. Both clergy and family therapists will find this book's wide range of perspectives and timely exploration of infrequently discussed topics helpful in the ongoing dialogue about the changing shape of marriage and family in the 21st century.
Family Therapy
This collection of essays is noteworthy for both this interdisciplinary scope and its richly ecumenical representation.
Christine E. Gudorf
This excellent pastoral collection is a tremendous resource for rebutting conservative arguments and alarms that pervade the media, and for moving mutuality from an academic value into mainstream Christian concerns by examining the experience of real familes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742531550
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 272
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Foley is Professor of Liturgy and Music at Catholic Theological Union and the founding director of the Ecumenical D.Min. Program. Among his many publications is Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals (1998), which he co-authored with Herbert Anderson. Herbert Anderson is an ordained Lutheran minister, professor emeritus of pastoral theology at Catholic Theological Union, and Canon of the Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of numerous books and articles, many of which are cited throughout this volume written in his honor. Bonnie Miller-McLemore is professor of pastoral theology and counseling at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) she is the mother of three boys. Her publications include Also a Mother: Work and Family as Theological Dilemma (1994), Feminist and Womanist Pastoral Theology (1999), and the co-authored From Culture Wars to Common Ground: Religion and the American Family Debate (1997). Robert Schreiter is the Vatican II Professor of Theology at Catholic Theological Union and conjointly the professor of theology and culture at the University of Nijmegen. Among his many publications are Constructing Local Theologies (1985) and The Ministry of Reconciliation (1998).

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Table of Contents

Part 1 I. Perspectives on Love and Mutuality Chapter 2 The Family as a Crucible of Grace: Learning and Living the Language of Love Chapter 3 Just Love? Marriage and the Question of Justice Chapter 4 Mutuality, Reason, and Public Policy Chapter 5 Who submits to Whom? Submission and Mutuality in the Family Part 6 II. Mutuality Matters in Marriage Chapter 7 Between Rhetoric and Reality: Women and Men as Equal Partners in Home, Church, and the Marketplace Chapter 8 Gender Narratives and the Epidemic of Violence in Contemporary Families Chapter 9 Is Equality Tearing Families Apart? Chapter 10 Navigating Between Cultures: The Bicultural Family's Lived Realities Part 11 III. Mutuality Matters in the Family Chapter 12 Sloppy Mutuality: Just Love for Children and Adults Chapter 13 Over the River and through the Woods: Maintaining Emotional Presence across Geographical Distance Chapter 14 Honor Your Father and Your Mother: A New Look at "Family Values" Chapter 15 In Search of Goodenough Families: Cultural and Religious Perspectives Part 16 IV. Fostering Mutuality through Ministry Chapter 17 The Black Churches' Response to Father Absence in the African American Family Chapter 18 More than a Family Affair: Reflections on Baptizing Children Chapter 19 Conversion or Nurture: When We Thought the Debate Was Over Chapter 20 The Congregation as a Healing Community

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