Vital Christianity: Spirituality, Justice and Christian Practice

Overview

In theory and in practice, Christians often sever spirituality from social justice. As a counterbalance, this collection of essays explores ways to connect these two spheres of corporate and individual faithfulness. The contributors recognize that even the very definition of these terms can sharply divide one from the other. For instance, some Christians assume that spirituality refers to the "inner life" whereas social justice refers to the "outer life," perhaps further equating the former with passive ...

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Overview

In theory and in practice, Christians often sever spirituality from social justice. As a counterbalance, this collection of essays explores ways to connect these two spheres of corporate and individual faithfulness. The contributors recognize that even the very definition of these terms can sharply divide one from the other. For instance, some Christians assume that spirituality refers to the "inner life" whereas social justice refers to the "outer life," perhaps further equating the former with passive Christianity and the latter with active Christianity. Similarly, some define spirituality as the maintenance of one's "vertical relationship" with God, contrasting it to the notion of nurturing compassionate "horizontal relationships" with the people one encounters in life. Vital Christianity seeks to challenge these debilitating distinctions by exploring the numerous threads that can and should connect these two components of holistic Christian living. This volume provides both a critique of the persistent division between spirit and body in the contemporary church and constructive, theologically responsible suggestions for overcoming that bifurcation. While a number of fine books rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition have addressed this issue, to our knowledge no companion work exists that is written largely from a Protestant perspective. Employing sensitivity to the sources of the Christian tradition as well as the practice of discipleship in the real world, the contributors to this volume seek solid ground on which to build bridges between spirituality and social justice. Organized to highlight both significant conceptual and theological issues, as well as applications to various dimensions of the Christian life, these essays offer penetrating insights from different vantage points into how contemporary believers can connect spirituality and social justice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780567025517
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 8/23/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

David Weaver-Zercher is Associate Professor of Religious History at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Amish in the American Imagination and the editor of Minding the Church: Scholarship in the Anabaptist Tradition.

The Reverend Dr. William Willimon is Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church and the author of fifty books, including Worship as Pastoral Care.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 The strangeness of spirit, the oddness of justice 13
2 Spirit and spirituality : reclaiming biblical transcendence 23
3 The love of God as the source of spirituality and social justice 36
4 Justice, spirituality, and the church : the atonement connection 49
5 Ecclesial discipleship and the unity of spirituality and social justice 59
6 Holistic spirituality as witness 72
7 Living out the peace of God : the apostle Paul's theology and practice of peace 91
8 The fulfillment of human nature in eastern patristic Christianity 102
9 The hiddenness of God and the justice of God : negative theology as social ethical resource 115
10 Deconstruction, messianic hope, and just action 126
11 Prayer : just praying, acting justly : contemplation and manifestation 141
12 Iconography : learning to see : the sacralized vision of Byzantine iconography 154
13 Singing : Luke's songs as melodies of the marginalized 167
14 The Lord's supper : food for the journey : Wesleyan eucharistic piety and the integrated Christian life 177
15 Table fellowship : the spirituality of eating together 188
16 Sabbath-keeping : Christian sabbath-keeping and the desire for justice 201
17 Service : challenging legacies of economic oppression and religious neglect : habitat for humanity in the Mississippi delta 212
18 Education : Cura Personalis : the matrix for social justice in Jesuit secondary education 225
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