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Avenues of Faith Cover

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Avenues of Faith

Shaping the Urban Religious Culture of Richmond, Virginia, 1900-1929

Written by Samuel C. Shepherd Jr

Avenues of Faith documents how religion flourished in southern cities after the turn of the century and how a cadre of clergy and laity created a notably progressive religious culture in Richmond, the bastion of the Old South. Famous as the former capital of the Confederacy, Richmond emerges as a dynamic and growing industrial city invigorated by the social activism of its Protestants.

By examining six mainline white denominations-Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Disciples of Christ, and Lutherans-Samuel C. Shepherd Jr. emphasizes the extent to which the city fostered religious diversity, even as "blind spots" remained in regard to Catholics, African Americans, Mormons, and Jews. Shepherd explores such topics as evangelism, interdenominational cooperation, the temperance campaign, the Sunday school movement, the international peace initiatives, and the expanding role of lay people of both sexes. He also notes the community's widespread rejection of fundamentalism, a religious phenomenon almost automatically associated with the South, and shows how it nurtured social reform to combat a host of urban problems associated with public health, education, housing, women's suffrage, prohibition, children, and prisons.

In lucid prose and with excellent use of primary sources, Shepherd delivers a fresh portrait of Richmond Protestants who embraced change and transformed their community, making it an active, progressive religious center of the New South.

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Bad Pastors

Clergy Misconduct in Modern America

Anson Shupe, William Stacey, Susan Darnell

Child-molesting priests, embezzled church treasures, philandering ministers and rabbis, even church-endorsed pyramid schemes that defraud gullible parishioners of millions of dollars: for the past decade, clergy misconduct has seemed continually to be in the news.

Is there something about religious organizations that fosters such misbehavior? Bad Pastors presents a range of new perspectives and solidly grounded data on pastoral abuse, investigating sexual misconduct, financial improprieties, and political and personal abuse of authority. Rather than focusing on individuals who misbehave, the volume investigates whether the foundation for clergy malfeasance is inherent in religious organizations themselves, stemming from hierarchies of power in which trusted leaders have the ability to define reality, control behavior, and even offer or withhold the promise of immortality. Arguing that such phenomena arise out of organizational structures, the contributors do not focus on one particular religion, but rather treat these incidents from an interfaith perspective.

Bad Pastors moves beyond individual case studies to consider a broad range of issues surrounding clergy misconduct, from violence against women to the role of charisma and abuse of power in new religious movements. Highlighting similarities between other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence, the volume helps us to conceptualize and understand clergy misconduct in new ways.

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Baptist Preaching

A Global Anthology

Edited by Joel C. Gregory

Baptist Preaching comprises thirty-five sermons from around the globe given in the same year by Baptist preachers. These sermons demonstrate, as Joel C. Gregory argues, that the act of preaching lies at the heart of Baptist identity—possibly rivaling the practice of believers’ baptism. The sermons collected here represent varied voices, multicultural contexts, and global concerns that occupy Baptists worldwide. The sermons thus give living witness to how Baptists wrestle with cultural issues confronting their respective churches. From Latin and South America to Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, Baptist Preaching celebrates the diversity of global Baptist proclamation while simultaneously highlighting the near-sacramental role of preaching in Baptist churches.

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Battle for the soul

Métis children encounter evangelical Protestants at Mackinaw Mission, 1823-1837

Keith R. Widder

In 1823 William and Amanda Ferry opened a boarding school for Métis children on Mackinac Island, Michigan Territory, setting in motion an intense spiritual battle to win the souls and change the lives of the children, their parents, and all others living at Mackinac. Battle for the Soul demonstrates how a group of enthusiastic missionaries, empowered by an uncompromising religious motivation, served as agents of Americanization. The Ferrys' high hopes crumbled, however, as they watched their work bring about a revival of Catholicism and their students refuse to abandon the fur trade as a way of life. The story of the Mackinaw Mission is that of people who held differing world views negotiating to create a "middle-ground," a society with room for all.
     Widder's study is a welcome addition to the literature on American frontier missions. Using Richard White's "middle ground" paradigm, it focuses on the cultural interaction between French, British, American, and various native groups at the Mackinac mission in Michigan during the early 19th century. The author draws on materials from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions archives, as well as other manuscript sources, to trace not only the missionaries' efforts to Christianize and Americanize the native peoples, but the religious, social, and cultural conflicts between Protestant missionaries and Catholic priests in the region. Much attention has been given to the missionaries to the Indians in other areas of the US, but little to this region.

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Because of Beauvoir

Christianity and the Cultivation of Female Genius

Alison E. Jasper

Because of Beauvoir does what many say is impossible: it demonstrates how women can flourish, without conflict, while being simultaneously Christian and feminist. Alison Jasper offers a vision of Julia Kristeva's "female genius" as the capacity of women to thrive and cultivate intellect within and across different cultural and theological environments. Using the writings of English women from the 17th through the 21st centuries as living profiles, Jasper draws upon the creative power in the lives of real women to recognize and retrieve a female subjectivity—one that determines how women see and are seen after Simon de Beauvoir.

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Become Like the Angels

Benjamin P. Blosser

Becoming a Self  Cover

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Becoming a Self

by Merold Westphal

Becoming a Self provides a reader's guide to the book often taken to be Kierkegaard's most important contribution to philosophy and theology.

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Becoming an Anti-Racist Church

Journeying toward Wholeness

By Joseph Barndt

Martin Luther King's observation that 11 a.m. on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week remains all too true.

Christians addressing racism in American society must begin with a frank assessment of how race figures in the churches themselves, leading activist Joseph Barndt argues. This practical and important volume extends the insights of Barndt's earlier, more general work to address the race situation in the churches and to equip people there to be agents for change in and beyond their church communities.

A hallmark of Barndt's analysis is his keen grasp of the deep yet checkered legacy that American church and church bodies inherit on this question. Yet Barndt also lifts up the ways in which their prophetic work has proved a catalyst for progress in American race relations, and he clearly shows why and how churches can inculcate an anti–racist commitment into their collective lives.

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Becoming God

The Doctrine of Theosis in Nicholas of Cusa

Nancy J. Hudson

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.

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Before Nature

A Christian Spirituality

by H. Paul Santmire

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.

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