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Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community
Baptists tend to be the “problem children” of the ecumenical movement. The Baptist obsession to realize a true church birthed a tradition of separation. While Baptists’ misgivings about ecumenism may stem from this fissiparous genealogy, it is equally true that the modern ecumenical movement itself increasingly lacks consensus about the pathway to a visible Christian unity. In Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future, Steven R. Harmon explores the relationship of the Baptist calling to be a pilgrim community and the ecumenical movement. Harmon argues that neither vision can be fulfilled apart from a mutually receptive ecumenical engagement. As Harmon shows, Baptist communities and the churches from which they are separated need one another. Chief among the gifts Baptists have to offer the rest of the church is their pilgrim aversion to overly realized eschatologies of the church and their radical commitment to discerning the rule of Christ by means of the Scriptures. Baptists, in turn, must be willing to receive from other churches neglected aspects of the radical catholicity from which the Bible is inseparable. Embedded in the Baptist vision and its historical embodiment are surprising openings for ecumenical convergence. Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future urges Baptists and their dialogue partners to recognize and embrace these ecumenically oriented facets of Baptist identity as indispensable provisions for their shared pilgrimage toward the fullness of the rule of Christ in their midst, which remains partial so long as Christ’s body remains divided.
The period 1928 to 1931, which followed completion of his dissertation, was formative for Bonhoeffer's personal and pastoral and theological direction. Almost all of these nine hundred pages of writings appear in English here for the first time. They document the intense four-year period that included preparation of his postdoctoral thesis; a vicarage in Barcelona; occasional lectures; his postdoctoral academic year at Union Theological Seminary; travel around the United States, Cuba, and Mexico; and his re-entry into the German academic and ecclesial scene.
Radical Discipleship and the Way of the Cross in America's "Christian" Culture
How might one live the Christian faith within a culture that idealizes and privileges Christianity while also relativizing it, rendering it redundant and innocuous? Arguing for a reconceptualization of the theology of the cross and radical communal practices, this book brings together two clusters of critics of Christian acculturation and accommodation: (1) Lutherans such as Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer who lift up radical discipleship against the propensity toward “cheap grace,” and (2) various “Anti-Constantinians,” including neo-monastic communities, who resists the church’s collusion with power politics, symbolized by the conversion of Constantine in the early fourth century.
Drawing on these diverse resources, author Jason Mahn explores some pervasive dangers of America’s new Christendom: its accommodation to an exploitative economy that cheapens the meaning of grace; its endorsement of political liberalism, within which the church becomes another special interest group; its justification of war and other forms of “necessary” violence; and its self-defeating lip-service to religious inclusivity. Mahn provocatively imagines alternatives to conventional Christianity—ones whereby the church embodies an alternative politic, where it commits to cruciform non-violence, appreciates gifts by giving them away, and knows its boundaries well enough to learn from those on the other side.
The Doctrine of Theosis in Nicholas of Cusa
The doctrine of theosis means a salvation that is the deification of the saved. The saved actually become God. This unusual doctrine lies at the heart of Nicholas of Cusa's (1401-1464) mystical metaphysics. It is here examined for the first time as a theme in its own right, along with its implications for Cusanus's doctrine of God, his theological anthropology, and his epistemology.
A Christian Spirituality
Before Nature caps a set of themes first brought to the fore in Santmire’s previous work, most notably the classic Travail of Nature. Here Santmire continues the pursuit of a theology bound up with nature and its condition, especially the fragility and fervent expectation of nature’s redemption. Out of this concern, Santmire invites readers on a theological and spiritual journey to a prayerful and contemplative knowledge of the Triune God, in which practitioners are inducted into a bountiful relationship with the cosmic and universal ministry of Christ and the Spirit uniting all of nature in a single vision of hope and anticipation. Scholarly, practical, and accessible.
The Humanness of Martin Luther King Jr.
What was Martin Luther King Jr. really like? In this groundbreaking volume, Lewis V. Baldwin answers this question by focusing on the man himself. Drawing on the testimonies of friends, family, and closest associates, this volume adds much-needed biographical background to the discussion, as Baldwin looks beyond all of the mythic, messianic, and iconic images to treat King in terms of his fundamental and vivid humanness. Special attention is devoted to King’s personal insecurities and struggles, his humility and affinity to common people, his delight in pleasant and passionate conversation, his insatiable love for the precious but ordinary things of life, his robust appetite for artfully-prepared and delicious soul food, his enduring appreciation for music and dance, his cheerful and playful attitude and spirit, his abiding interest in games and sports, and his amazing gift of wit, humor, and laughter. King emerges here as an ordinary human being who enjoyed and celebrated life to the fullest, but was never bigger than life. Here we see the personal qualities of King—as a real, fleshly human being—and also as a man shaped by his social and cultural experiences and locations. This book reclaims the man behind the mythology.
Poetry and Fantasy on the Path to God
Being Deified examines the importance of deification to Christian theology and the place of human creativity in deification. Deification is an explanatory force for the major categories of Christian theology: creation, fall, incarnation, theological anthropology, as well as the sacraments. Deification explains, in part, the why of creation and the what of humanity: God created in order to deify, humanity is created to be deified; the what of the Fall: the desire for divinity outside of God’s gifts; one of the purposes for the Incarnation: to deify; and what end the sacraments aid: deification. Essential to deification is human creativity for humans are created in the image of God, the Creator. In order to explore this dimension of deification, this essay focuses on works of poetry and fantasy, in many ways the pinnacle of human creativity since both genres cause the making strange of things familiar (language and creation itself) in part to make them better known, particularly as creations of the Creator.