America is known for, and prides itself on, its individualism. But bubbling beneath the surface of rugged independence is a hunger for community, for connectedness, for solidarity. While much of the literature on the importance of community—ranging from Bellah's Habits of the Heart to Wuthnow's Loose Connections to Putnam's Bowling Alone—affirms the central role of churches in helping bring people together, none of them treats in depth the role of the local churches in revisioning community. To remedy this omission, Re-Imagining Life Together in America offers a bold message of hope that the Christian tradition and American churches provide vital resources for reforming the prevailing individualistic social order into one of unity and solidarity. Co-authored by Chestnut Hill professors Hall Taussig, a United Methodist pastor, and Catherine Nerney, S.S.J., a Roman Catholic sister, Re-Imagining Life in Together in America is grounded in both rigorous scholarship and rich ministerial experience that is both interdenominational and ecumenical. Well written and highly accessible, this book interweaves a thorough review of developments in Christian community from the first century to the present with powerful new discoveries in scriptural, theological, and historical research that has uncovered deep communal strands in the foundational literature and notions of Christianity. The result is a profound call for the renewal of Christian community and churches as crucial models and inspirations for the new search for wholeness in America. A timely book for Christian leaders, Roman Catholic and Protestant, and especially educated lay leaders in local settings and pastoral leadership. Ideal for parish and congregational study groups, upper-level undergraduates, seminarians, and graduate students in theology, Scripture, spirituality, sociology, and anthropology.
Catherine Nerney, S.S.J. , is chair of the Religious Studies/Graduate Spirituality department at Chestnut Hill College. Hal Taussig teaches graduate New Testament studies at Union Theological Seminary, Chestnut Hill College, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical college. He is author of Wisdom's Feast: Sophia in Study and Celebration (Sheed & Ward).
Part 1 A Gospel of Community in Early Christianity Chapter 2 The Emergence of Christian Community in the Hellenistic Mediterranean Chapter 3 Five Early Christian Communities Chapter 4 Communion: Meanings of Community take on Universal Significance Part 5 The Community of God: Twentieth Century Theological and Philosophical Contributions Chapter 6 A Church Called Back to Its Roots Chapter 7 An Eastern Orthodox Contribution to Understanding Communion: The Work of John Zizioulas Chapter 8 Social Philosophers as Conversation Partners about Community Chapter 9 Communion and Liberation: The Contribution of Liberation and Feminist Theologians to Understanding Communion Part 10 The Contemporary North American Social Situation as Crisis of Community Chapter 11 The American Disaster Chapter 12 The Crisis of Community in the Christian Churches of America Part 13 A Gospel of Community for the Twenty-First Century Chapter 14 The Emergence of Christian Community in Contemporary America Chapter 15 Encountering Diverse "Forms" of Contemporary Christian Communities Chapter 16 Building Community: Exploring a Metaphor