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Evolution has provided a new understanding of reality, with revolutionary consequences for Christianity. In an evolutionary perspective the incarnation involved God entering the evolving human species to help it imitate the trinitarian altruism in whose image it was created and counter its tendency to self-absorption. Primarily, however, the evolutionary achievement of Jesus was to confront and overcome death in an act of cosmic significance, ushering humanity into the culminating stage of its evolutionary destiny, the full sharing of God's inner life. Previously such doctrines as original sin, the fall, sacrifice, and atonement stemmed from viewing death as the penalty for sin and are shown not only to have serious difficulties in themselves, but also to emerge from a Jewish culture preoccupied with sin and sacrifice that could not otherwise account for death. The death of Jesus on the cross is now seen as saving humanity, not from sin, but from individual extinction and meaninglessness. Death is now seen as a normal process that affect all living things and the religious doctrines connected with explaining it in humans are no longer required or justified. Similar evolutionary implications are explored affecting other subjects of Christian belief, including the Church, the Eucharist, priesthood, and moral behavior.
Two Stories of Liberal Society
Western liberal societies are characterized by two stories: a positive story of freedom of conscience and the recognition of community and human rights, and a negative story of unrestrained freedom that leads to self-centeredness, vacuity, and the destructive compromise of human values. Can the Catholic Church play a more meaningful role in assisting liberal societies in telling their better story? Australian ethicist Robert Gascoigne thinks it can. In The Church and Secularity he considers the meaning of secularity as a shared space for all citizens and asks how the Church can contribute to a sensitivity toùand respect forùhuman dignity and human rights. Drawing on AugustineÆs City of God and Vatican IIÆs Gaudium et spes, Gascoigne interprets the meaning of freedom in liberal societies through the lens of AugustineÆs ôtwo loves,ö the love of God and neighbor and the love of self, and reveals how the two are connected to our contemporary experience. The Church and Secularity argues that the Church can serve liberal societies in a positive way and that its own social identity, rooted in Eucharistic communities, must be bound up with the struggle for human rights and resistance to the commodification of the human in all its forms.
Promises Made, Promises Kept?
Although a frequently discussed reform, campaigns to merge a major municipality and county to form a unified government fail to win voter approval eighty per cent of the time. One cause for the low success rate may be that little systematic analysis of consolidated governments has been done.
In City--County Consolidation, Suzanne Leland and Kurt Thurmaier compare nine city--county consolidations -- incorporating data from 10 years before and after each consolidation -- to similar cities and counties that did not consolidate. Their groundbreaking study offers valuable insight into whether consolidation meets those promises made to voters to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of these governments.
The book will appeal to those with an interest in urban affairs, economic development, local government management, general public administration, and scholars of policy, political science, sociology, and geography.
Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society
How can we agree to disagree in today's pluralistic society, one in which individuals and groups are becoming increasingly polarized by fierce convictions that are often at odds with the ideas of others? Civil Disagreement: Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society shows how we can cope with diversity and be appropriately open toward opponents even while staying true to our convictions. This accessible and useful guide discusses how our conversations and arguments can respect differences and maintain personal integrity and civility even while taking stances on disputed issues. The author examines an array of illustrative cases, such as debates over slavery, gay marriage, compulsory education for the Amish, and others, providing helpful insights on how to take firm stands without denigrating opponents. The author proposes an approach called "perspective pluralism" that honors the integrity of various viewpoints while avoiding the implication that all reasonable views are equally acceptable or true.
Civil Disagreement offers a concise yet comprehensive guide for students and scholars of philosophical or religious ethics, political or social philosophy, and political science, as well as general readers who are concerned about the polarization that often seems to paralyze national and international politics.
New Strategies for Local Governments
Local governments do not stand alone—they find themselves in new relationships not only with state and federal government, but often with a widening spectrum of other public and private organizations as well. The result of this re-forming of local governments calls for new collaborations and managerial responses that occur in addition to governmental and bureaucratic processes-as-usual, bringing locally generated strategies or what the authors call "jurisdiction-based management" into play. Based on an extensive study of 237 cities within five states, Collaborative Public Management provides an in-depth look at how city officials work with other governments and organizations to develop their city economies and what makes these collaborations work. Exploring the more complex nature of collaboration across jurisdictions, governments, and sectors, Agranoff and McGuire illustrate how public managers address complex problems through strategic partnerships, networks, contractual relationships, alliances, committees, coalitions, consortia, and councils as they function together to meet public demands through other government agencies, nonprofit associations, for-profit entities, and many other types of nongovernmental organizations. Beyond the "how" and "why," Collaborative Public Management identifies the importance of different managerial approaches by breaking them down into parts and sequences, and describing the many kinds of collaborative activities and processes that allow local governments to function in new ways to address the most nettlesome public challenges.
New Ideas for the Twenty-first Century
Today’s public managers not only have to function as leaders within their agencies, they must also establish and coordinate multi-organizational networks of other public agencies, private contractors, and the public. This important transformation has been
Islam, Christianity, and Religious Pluralism
Christian-Muslim interaction is a reality today in all corners of the globe, but while many celebrate the commonality of these traditions, significant differences remain. If these religions cannot be easily reconciled, can we perhaps view them through a single albeit refractive lens? This is the approach Paul Heck takes in Common Ground: To undertake a study of religious pluralism as a theological and social reality, and to approach the two religions in tandem as part of a broader discussion on the nature of the good society. Rather than compare Christianity and Islam as two species of faith, religious pluralism offers a prism through which a society as a wholeùsecular and religious alikeùcan consider its core beliefs and values. Christianity and Islam are not merely identities that designate particular communities, but reference points that all can comprehend and discuss knowledgeably. This analysis of how Islam and Christianity understand theology, ethics, and politicsùspecifically democracy and human rightsùoffers a way for that discussion to move forward.
Revelation, Translation, and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam
Communicating the Word is a record of the 2008 Building Bridges seminar, an annual dialogue between leading Christian and Muslim scholars convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Featuring the insights of internationally known Christian and Muslim scholars, the essays collected here focus attention on key scriptural texts but also engage with both classical and contemporary Islamic and Christian thought. Issues addressed include, among others, the different ways in which Christians and Muslims think of their scriptures as the “Word of God,” the possibilities and challenges of translating scripture, and the methods—and conflicts—involved in interpreting scripture in the past and today.
In his concluding reflections, Archbishop Rowan Williams draws attention to a fundamental point emerging from these fascinating contributions: “Islam and Christianity alike give a high valuation to the conviction that God speaks to us. Grasping what that does and does not mean . . . is challenging theological work.”