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Readings from Acts are offered only during Easter, so how can preachers make this important book come alive throughout the church year?
Acts of the Apostles helps the preacher identify possibilities for sermons based on texts and themes in the book of Acts. While offering a basic exegetical framework for interpreting passages in Acts in their historical, literary, rhetorical, and theological contexts, this volume also suggests ways in which the preacher can relate passages and motifs from Acts to the congregation and world today.
Sources and Meanings
This text offers a fresh translation of each admonition, parallel texts previously noted by other scholars or newly uncovered by Karris, as well as comments on each admonition verse by verse. The reader is led into Francis’s “theological workshop” where it becomes clear how Francis imprinted his own logo on the spiritual traditions he inherited.
The Convent Philosophy of Port-Royal
In seventeenth-century France, southwest of Paris, the Port-Royal convent became the center of the Jansenist movement and of its adherents’ resistance to church and throne. Three abbesses from the Arnauld family spearheaded this resistance: Mère Angélique Arnauld (1591-1661), Mère Agnès Arnauld (1593-1671), and Mère Angélique de Saint-Jean Arnauld d'Andilly (1624-1684). Although many books have been written about the tragic lives of the Port-Royal nuns, John J. Conley provides the first study of the radical Augustinian philosophy developed by these remarkable abbesses during decades of persecution by Louis XIV and his ecclesiastical allies. Openly declaring themselves “disciples of Saint Augustine,” the Arnauld abbesses forged a philosophy notable for its original treatment of the attributes that stressed divine otherness; a moral philosophy of virtue rooted in grace; and a politics that supported the right of women to resist abuses of religious and civil authority. Although their philosophy was clearly influenced by their male Jansenist mentors, the nuns’ radical Augustinianism maintains its own gendered originality: their philosophy of virtue is closely tied to practices valued in a contemplative convent setting; their defense of freedom of conscience is linked to their defense of women’s right to exercise religious authority; and their negative theology, focused on divine incomprehensibility, depicts a God beyond sexual difference. A fascinating account that includes translations ranging from abbatial conferences to private letters, Adoration and Annihilation is an important chronicle of the doctrinal battles of early modern Catholicism.
Fiestas in Central Mexico
Mexico is famous for spectacular fiestas that embody its heart and soul. An expression of the cult of the saint, patron saint fiestas are the centerpiece of Mexican popular religion and of great importance to the lives and cultures of people and communities. These fiestas have their own language, objects, belief systems, and practices. They link Mexico’s past and present, its indigenous and European populations, and its local and global relations. This work provides a comprehensive study of two intimately linked patron saint fiestas in the state of Guanajuato, near San Miguel de Allende—the fiesta of the village of Cruz del Palmar and that of the town of San Luis de la Paz. These two fiestas are related to one another in very special ways involving both religious practices and their respective pre-Hispanic origins. A mixture of secular and sacred, patron saint fiestas are multi-day affairs that include many events, ritual specialists, and performers, with the participation of the entire community. Fiestas take place in order to honor the saints, and they are the occasion for religious ceremonies, processions, musical performances, dances, and dance dramas. They feature spectacular costumes, enormous puppets, masked and cross-dressed individuals, dazzling fireworks, rodeos, food stands, competitions, and public dances. By encompassing all of these events and performances, this work displays the essence of Mexico, a lens through which this country’s complex history, religion, ethnic mix, traditions, and magic can be viewed.
Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics
Throughout most of Western European history, Jews have been a numerically tiny or entirely absent minority, but across that history Europeans have nonetheless worried a great deal about Judaism. Why should that be so? This short but powerfully argued book suggests that Christian anxieties about their own transcendent ideals made Judaism an important tool for Christianity, as an apocalyptic religion—characterized by prizing soul over flesh, the spiritual over the literal, the heavenly over the physical world—came to terms with the inescapable importance of body, language, and material things in this world.
Nirenberg shows how turning the Jew into a personification of worldly over spiritual concerns, surface over inner meaning, allowed cultures inclined toward transcendence to understand even their most materialistic practices as spiritual. Focusing on art, poetry, and politics—three activities especially condemned as worldly in early Christian culture—he reveals how, over the past two thousand years, these activities nevertheless expanded the potential for their own existence within Christian culture because they were used to represent Judaism. Nirenberg draws on an astonishingly diverse collection of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the roles played by representations of Jewish “enemies” in the creation of Western art, culture, and politics, from the ancient world to the present day.
This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways in which Christian cultures have created themselves by thinking about Judaism will appeal to the broadest range of scholars of religion, art, literature, political theory, media theory, and the history of Western civilization more generally.
Confronting an Identity Problem
This is a timely book on the contemporary African priesthood. Just as in other parts of the globe, the African priesthood currently faces a serious crisis of identity. The unfolding crisis puts stress on the clerics and augments the tension with lay people. The model of the Church-as-Family of God opted for by the Church in Africa is a new milestone that puts pressure on Catholic priests to define their role in the new context. The identity and image of priests need to be specified as lay ministries render the Church active from the grassroots. Reflection about the ministry of the clergy in Africa is urgent, and indeed it is an important aspect of enculturation. Nyenyembe demonstrates an admirable capacity to situate his rich theological reflections in an African context.
The Stranger Within
ëWhat makes African Christianity Christian?í, ëwhat is the mission of the African church?í, ëWhat is the theology of the African church?í and, ëWhat is the future of the Church in Africa or more precisely of African Christianity?í Professor Galgalo gives a critical analysis of Christianity in Africa from historical, theological and sociological perspectives.
Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture
In 2006, the contemporary American Pentecostal movement celebrated its 100th birthday. Over that time, its African American sector has been markedly influential, not only vis-à-vis other branches of Pentecostalism but also throughout the Christian church. Black Christians have been integrally involved in every aspect of the Pentecostal movement since its inception and have made significant contributions to its founding as well as the evolution of Pentecostal/charismatic styles of worship, preaching, music, engagement of social issues, and theology. Yet despite its being one of the fastest growing segments of the Black Church, Afro-Pentecostalism has not received the kind of critical attention it deserves.
Afro-Pentecostalism brings together fourteen interdisciplinary scholars to examine different facets of the movement, including its early history, issues of gender, relations with other black denominations, intersections with popular culture, and missionary activities, as well as the movement’s distinctive theology. Bolstered by editorial introductions to each section, the chapters reflect on the state of the movement, chart its trajectories, discuss pertinent issues, and anticipate future developments.
Contributors: Estrelda Y. Alexander, Valerie C. Cooper, David D. Daniels III, Louis B. Gallien, Jr., Clarence E. Hardy III, Dale T. Irvin, Ogbu U. Kalu, Leonard Lovett, Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., Cheryl J. Sanders, Craig Scandrett-Leatherman, William C. Turner, Jr., Frederick L. Ware, and Amos Yong
Theology, Philosophy, and the Question of Life After Death
In After We Die, philosopher Stephen T. Davis subjects one of Christianity’s key beliefs—that Christians not only will survive death but also will enjoy bodily resurrection—to searching philosophical analysis. Facing each critique squarely, Davis contends that traditional, historic belief about the eschatological future is philosophically defensible. Davis examines personal extinction, reincarnation, and immortality of the soul. By juxtaposing two systems of salvation—reincarnation/karma and resurrection/grace—Davis explores the Christian claim that humans will be raised from the dead, as well as the radical Christian assertions of Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and long-anticipated return. Davis finally addresses Christian thinking about heaven, hell, and purgatory. The philosophical defense of Christianity’s core beliefs enables Davis to render a reasonable answer to the eternal question of what happens to us after we die. After We Die is essential reading for teachers and students of philosophy, theology, and Bible, as well as anyone interested in a reasoned analysis of historic Christian faith, particularly as it pertains to the inevitable end of each and every human being.