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The Betrayal of Charity

The Sins that Sabotage Divine Love

Matthew Levering

Love was at one time a powerfully unifying force among Christians. In his letters, Paul consistently evokes charity as the avenue to both human and divine communion. If the magnitude of charity was of the upmost importance to early Christians, so were those sins that aimed to distract Christians from acting based on love. Taking seriously the efforts of Paul, and later Thomas Aquinas, to expose and root out the sins against charity, Matthew Levering reclaims the centrality of love for moral, and in fact all, theology.

As Levering argues, the practice of charity leads to inner joy and peace as well as outward mercy, good will, and unity with God and neighbor. The sins against charity—hatred, sloth, envy, discord and contention, schism, war and strife, and sedition and scandal—threaten love’s concrete effects by rebelling against dependence on God and undermining interdependence on others. The Betrayal of Charity seriously considers the consequences of each of the sins against love, compelling individuals and communities to recognize their own loss of charity. In doing so, Levering fosters a spirit of restoration and reminds readers that love—not the sins against it—will have the last word.

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Between Apocalypse and Eschaton

History and Eternity in Henri de Lubac

by Joseph S. Flipper

Between Apocalypse and Eschaton examines the systematic theology of Henri de Lubac, SJ, one of the most significant Catholic theologians of the twentieth century. While much of the recent work on de Lubac centers on the controversies surrounding his theology of the supernatural, Between Apocalypse and Eschaton argues that eschatology is the key to de Lubac’s theological project and critical to understanding the nouvelle théologie, the group of theologians with whom de Lubac was associated. At the time, intra-Catholic controversies arose around the nouvelle théologie as part of a broader anxiety over the loss of the eternal in twentieth-century Europe. The German occupation of France in World War II was the backdrop for a renewed apocalyptic and eschatological thinking among French Catholics. The nouvelle théologie generated a debate over the meaning of “the end” that was critical to understanding the theological, spiritual, and political fissures in the postwar period. After World War II, de Lubac’s writings increasingly focused on the theology of history and eschatology. The present work returns focus to this often neglected aspect of de Lubac’s work.

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Between Magisterium and Marketplace

A Constructive Account of Theology and the Church

by Robert C. Saler

What is the relationship of the church to theology? How does the church relate to the work of creative theological authorship, particularly when authors propose novel claims? Even more, how do ecclesial models, particularly of ecclesial authority, underwrite or authorize how theology is done? Saler takes up these challenging and provocative questions and argues for a fresh ecclesiology of the church as event, specifically as a diffusively spatialized event.

Establishing this claim through the fascinating historical encounters between thinkers like Thomas More and William Tyndale, John Henry Newman and Friedrich Schleiermacher, Between Magisterium and Marketplace provides a theological genealogy of modern ecclesiology, arguing that modern and contemporary ecclesiology is a theological contest not between Barth and Schleiermacher, but rather Newman and Schleiermacher. Constructing an alternative path, Saler turns to the work of a diverse array of authors past and present to argue for a humble yet hopeful view of the theological task in light of contemporary ecclesial opportunities.

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Beyond Apathy

A Theology for Bystanders

by Elisabeth T. Vasko

Theological conversations about violence have typically framed the discussion in terms of victim and perpetrator. Such work, while important, only addresses part of the problem. Comprehensive theological and pastoral responses to violence must also address the role of collective passivity in the face of human denigration. Given the pervasiveness of inaction—whether in the form of denial, willful ignorance, or silent complicity—a theological reflection on violence that holds bystanders accountable, especially those who occupy social sites of privilege, is long overdue. In Beyond Apathy, Elisabeth T. Vasko utilizes resources within the Christian tradition to examine the theological significance of bystander participation in patterns of violence and violation within contemporary Western culture, giving particular attention to the social issues of bullying, white racism, and sexual violence. In doing so, she constructs a theology of redeeming grace for bystanders to violence that foregrounds the significance of social action in bringing about God’s basileia.

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Beyond Pius V

Conflicting Interpretations of the Liturgical Reform

Andrea Grillo

The reform of the liturgy is at risk, says Andrea Grillo. Recent developments have sown doubts and confusion within the church. While many authorities pay lip service to the importance of the liturgical reform that followed Vatican II and cite all the right documents, what they offer is "out of tune" with the fundamental reasons for the reform.Grillo argues that the church today must refresh its collective memory of the essential meaning of the liturgical reform. For Grillo, this means understanding* the meaning and significance of Vatican II in the history of the church in the twentieth century* the key concept of "active participation"* the core ideas of the original liturgical movement and the role they played during and after the reform of the liturgy* what the reform has accomplished and what remains to be doneBeyond Pius V is not simply a set of pastoral observations. It is a strongly argued theological essay on the true meaning and purpose of liturgy and liturgical reform. That reform, Grillo says, must continue to challenge and provoke us, never to be reduced to the precious past of our ancestors; rather, like children who honor the legacy of their parents, we are called to carry on and nurture the life of the reform.

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Beyond Theodicy

Jewish and Christian Continental Thinkers Respond to the Holocaust

Explores the work of post-Holocaust Jewish and Christian thinkers who reject theodicy—arguments explaining why a loving God can permit evil and suffering in the world. Beyond Theodicy analyzes the rising tide of objections to explanations and justifications for why God permits evil and suffering in the world. In response to the Holocaust, striking parallels have emerged between major Jewish and Christian thinkers centering on practical faith approaches that offer meaning within suffering. Author Sarah K. Pinnock focuses on Jewish thinkers Martin Buber and Ernst Bloch and Christian thinkers Gabriel Marcel and Johann Baptist Metz to present two diverse rejections of theodicy, one existential, represented by Buber and Marcel, and one political, represented by Bloch and Metz. Pinnock interweaves the disciplines of philosophy of religion, post-Holocaust thought, and liberation theology to formulate a dynamic vision of religious hope and resistance.

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The Bible and African Culture

Mapping Transactional Inroads

How can African theology survive the self-repetition of mere cultural apologia or contextualization-stereotypes, and mature into a critical theoretical discipline responding to the challenges of the postmodern world-order? Dr. Humphrey M. Wawe contributes here a sound theological reflection using the hitherto unused methodological paradigm of mapping the inroads in the ìtransactionî between the Bible and African culture.

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Bitten by a Camel

Leaving Church, Finding God

Kent Dobson climbed Mount Sinai in search of the God who had eluded him. Instead he got bitten by a camel. The senior pastor of one of the most prominent churches in America, Dobson was growing disillusioned with his faith. One Sunday, he preached, “I don’t know what the word God means anymore.” He left the church, but his quest for God became more intense than ever. On the foundation of Jesus and the Bible, Dobson reconstructs a faith that is life-giving and true—true to himself and true to God.

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Blessed Are the Consumers

Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint

by Sallie McFague

In this timely book, Sallie McFague recalls her readers to the practices of restraint. In a world bent on consumption it is imperative that people of religious faith realize the significant role they play in advocating for the earth, and a more humane life for all.

The root of restraint, she argues, rests in the ancient Christian notion of Kenosis, or self-emptying.

By introducing Kenosis through the life stories of John Woolman, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Day, McFague brings a powerful theological concept to bear in a winsome and readable way.

For decades, Sallie McFague has lent her voice and her theological imagination to addressing and advocating for the most important issues of our time. In doing so, she has influenced an entire generation, and empowered countless people in their efforts to put religion in the service of meeting human needs in difficult times.

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Bodies of Peace

Ecclesiology, Nonviolence, and Witness

by Myles Werntz

This book argues that Christian nonviolence is both formed by and forms ecclesial life, creating an inextricable relationship between church commitment and resistance to war. Examining the work of John Howard Yoder, Dorothy Day, William Stringfellow, and Robert McAfee Brown, this book explores how each thinker’s advocacy for nonviolent resistance depends deeply upon the ecclesiology out of which it comes. These forms comprise four strands of a comprehensive Christian approach to a nonviolent witness rooted in ecclesial life. Because each of these figures’ ecclesiology implicates a different mode of resistance to war and a different relation between ecclesiology and resistance to war, the volume argues that any account of an ecclesially-informed resistance to war must be open to a multitude of approaches, not as pragmatic concessions, but as a foretaste of ecumenical unity. Insofar as the pursuit of peace in the world can be seen as a church bearing out the work of the Spirit, the approach of other ecclesial traditions can be seen not as competitors but as common works of the Spirit, which other traditions may learn from and be challenged by.

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