For the Healing of the Nation

For the Healing of the Nation


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For the Healing of the Nation offers a serious look at the social and political climate in the United States from a biblical perspective, emphasizing race and "otherness," economics and the environment, and institutional violence (war and capital punishment). An autobiographical thread traces the journey of a white male coming of age in the mid-twentieth-century Deep South as his evolving faith leads him to painful breaks with inherited values and standard views on controversial issues. Critical not only of both major political parties but also of centrist compromises between Right and Left, Russell Pregeant seeks a "forward" position, which he terms "ecocommunitarian," based on biblical values. His musings touch on both southern and American identities and on the nature of the biblical writings and the ways they should and should not be used in contemporary debates. Central to the entire work are discussions of how idolatrous commitments to a culture's prevalent ideologies obscure the essential demands of biblical faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498235396
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 04/14/2016
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Russell Pregeant is Professor of Religion and Philosophy and Chaplain Emeritus at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, and was frequently Visiting Professor in New Testament at Andover Newton Theological School. He is the author of several books, including Reading the Bible for All the Wrong Reasons (2011) and Encounter with the New Testament (2009).

Table of Contents

Foreword John B. Cobb ix

Preface xiii

Introduction: Trembling for My Country: A Reflection on Place 1

Part 1 "Who Is My Neighbor?" The Tragedy of Dreams Deferred

Prologue to Part 1: A Little Window on a Great Big World 7

1 A Place Reconfigured: Memories of the Mid-Twentieth-Century South 10

2 Lessons Learned: Reflecting on the Times 20

3 Adjusting the Lenses: The Bible, Race, and the Unity of Humankind 30

4 Ideology against the Bible: A Judgment on the Past 43

5 Adorning the Tombs of the Prophets: Assessing the Present 53

6 Reflections on a Sugar House: A Question of Identity 77

Part 2 "The Land is Mine": Justice in the Marketplace, Justice for the Earth, Justice in the Forum

Prologue to Part 2: Neither the Margins nor the Middle 95

7 A Miniprimer on Biblical Economics 98

8 Applying the Principles: Biblical Economics and Political Philosophies 116

9 Torah Betrayed: Current Economics in Biblical Perspective 139

10 "And God Saw That It Was Good": The Bible, Earth, and the "American Way of Life" 159

11 Vines and Fig Trees in the "Days to Come": Toward Justice, Sustain ability, and Democracy 181

12 But Can We Do It? Overcoming the Impediments 200

Part 3 "Not with Swords' Loud Clashing": Violence, Justice, and the Commonwealth of God

Prologue to Part 3: A Lifelong Struggle and a Stable Conviction 219

13 A Complex Heritage: The Bible on War, Peace, and Empire 223

14 Conquest and Imperialism in U.S. History: The Four Hundred Years' War 231

15 Conquest and Imperialism Continued: The Path to Perpetual War 246

16 Justice Untempered, Justice Denied: Courtroom, Prison, Death Row 273

Conclusion: Putting Away the Idols 299

Epilogue: Jazz, Gumbo, the Bible, and God 303

Bibliography 321

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Written with conviction, compassion, and clarity, this book is packed with readable information and insights for people concerned about our nation—and who want to understand its politics in terms of biblical perceptions of justice and love. Pregeant not only analyzes but also responds with realistic and practical proposals. Personal stories drawn from his experience of growing up in Louisiana during the civil rights struggle, and sharing his own inner struggles on revenge and the death penalty, enrich the argument and keep its feet on the ground."

—M. Eugene Boring, I. Wylie and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of New Testament, Emeritus,

Brite Divinity School; author, An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology

"Russell Pregeant deftly weaves together personal experience, as a white man raised in the South, with well-researched historical material, intertwined with biblical and theological reflection as they inform a prophetic diagnosis of racial injustice, economic and environmental disparities, and life-destroying systems of violence. In this readable, thought-provoking book, Pregeant demonstrates his love for his nation alongside humility about his own shifting understandings, and offers his insights on how to move forward."

—Susan Wolfe Hassinger, Bishop-in-Residence and Lecturer, Boston University School of Theology

"Russell Pregeant challenges his readers to read the Bible with new perspectives, addressing key issues in today's society: racism, economic injustices, policies that break the fabric of humanity. His clear and thought-provoking writing calls for a study in the faith formation groups of our churches."

—Sudarshana Devadhar, Resident Bishop, New England Conference - United Methodist Church

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