Today, religion plays a significant role in the political positions people take on a number of important issues: stem cell research, abortion, right to life, gay marriage, etc. But how do people of the same faith come to radically different conclusions and positions on these issues? How has the right convinced a majority of evangelical Christians that there is a Biblical mandate to oppose abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage? Or, why do progressive Christians believe they are called to be the voice of the voiceless, to advocate for the poor and to challenge aggressive foreign policy? This book gives voice to politically active Protestant Christians with an eye toward understanding how people who share the same scriptures, hymns, prayers, and creeds arrive at and embrace radically different political perspectives. Floyd explores the notion of agenda-setting within Christian communities (left and right) and provides an in-depth look at the lives of a small but diverse number of politically active, committed Christians.
In their own words, Protestants across the country explain how they arrive at their political opinions. The thoughts, the ideas, the reasons for celebrating and the causes of despair, will be familiarat times painfully soto many. Reading these profiles one may begin to answer those basic questions: how can they call themselves Christian? and how could they possibly have voted for him?. Beginning with a brief overview of religion and politics in the United States and a discussion of recent developments (2001-2005), serious consideration of the key themes raised by the profile chapters follow. These include theology, practice, and connect/disconnect with society (particularly the group/individual's perception of its/their relationship to the world at large). Each chapter describes a different group of people whose political lives have been shaped by their faith and who are willing to think about and talk about their ideas. They take into consideration personal histories, education, work, family and friends, and explore how religious beliefs have shaped people's lives, especially with regard to political decision-making. Extensive interviews allow the voices of those profiled to be clearly heard.
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About the Author
CHARLENE FLOYD teaches religion and politics in the Doctor of Ministry Program at New York Theological Seminary. A political scientist, she has been studying religion and politics for over twenty years.
Table of Contents
Building Church: St. Francis United Methodist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina 13
A Story to Tell: Concord Presbyterian Church, Delaware, Ohio 51
Obedient to the Word: Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas 89
Somewhere in the Silence: Park Slope United Methodist Church, Brooklyn, New York 127
Politics of the Pew: Does Where You Stand Depend on Where You Sit? 159
What People are Saying About This
"Charlene Floyd's Christian Voices is fascinating, inspiring, and troubling. Its approachinterviews with pastors and key laity from four Protestant congregations, with extensive use of quotationsbroadened my understanding of the deep connection between faith and politics. The stories of faith, prayer, action, and miracles are gripping and inspiring, presenting templates of diverse congregations that work. This book will be useful in classrooms, to Christians and congregations seeking inspiration and understanding of the dynamics of Christian communities, and to the less religious who wish to understand the deep connections between faith and actions."
"Christian Voices is a tour de force of story telling. At a time when Christian politics is stereotyped on both the right and left, Charlene Floyd captures the thought-provoking and moving voices of grassroots people of faith. Floyd's skills as a political scientist and a scholar of religion allow the reader to see beyond political and religious institutions, to hear the stories of individual people of faith, and to see how politics and religion are deeply embedded in the every-day lived experiences of the American people."
"This book decisively points to and demonstrates in a compelling manner the (re)turn to the everyday life, for so long ignored by the makers of faith and politics, through which profound, embodied, and transforming voices are re-discovered offering not only possibilities for justice, compassion, and hospitality, but also the redemption of American Protestantismthrough the telling and retelling of these wonderfully human stories."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Christians from three mainline denominations recount their faith journeys and some are quite compelling. They hold differing views on the Christian life, morality and politics. Anyone who has had a serious conversation with another believer knows there are such differences and Charlene Ford does not give their comments any since of meaning nor draw any conclusions from the stories. One is left with only fragmented stories without meaning.