In theory and in practice, Christians often sever spirituality from social justice. As a counterbalance, this collection of essays explores ways to connect these two spheres of corporate and individual faithfulness. The contributors recognize that even the very definition of...
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In theory and in practice, Christians often sever spirituality from social justice. As a counterbalance, this collection of essays explores ways to connect these two spheres of corporate and individual faithfulness. The contributors recognize that even the very definition of these terms can sharply divide one from the other. For instance, some Christians assume that spirituality refers to the "inner life" whereas social justice refers to the "outer life," perhaps further equating the former with passive Christianity and the latter with active Christianity. Similarly, some define spirituality as the maintenance of one's "vertical relationship" with God, contrasting it to the notion of nurturing compassionate "horizontal relationships" with the people one encounters in life. Vital Christianity seeks to challenge these debilitating distinctions by exploring the numerous threads that can and should connect these two components of holistic Christian living. This volume provides both a critique of the persistent division between spirit and body in the contemporary church and constructive, theologically responsible suggestions for overcoming that bifurcation. While a number of fine books rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition have addressed this issue, to our knowledge no companion work exists that is written largely from a Protestant perspective. Employing sensitivity to the sources of the Christian tradition as well as the practice of discipleship in the real world, the contributors to this volume seek solid ground on which to build bridges between spirituality and social justice. Organized to highlight both significant conceptual and theological issues, as well as applications to various dimensions of the Christian life, these essays offer penetrating insights from different vantage points into how contemporary believers can connect spirituality and social justice>
William H. Willimon is Presiding Bishop of the Birmingham Area of The United Methodist Church. Prior to his current position he served for twenty years as Professor of Christian Ministry and Dean of Duke University Chapel. He is the author of fifty books and over a million copies of his books have been sold including Sighing for Eden: Sin, Evil, and the Christian Faith, Thank God It's Friday, Conversations with Barth on Preaching, Proclamation and Theology, Sinning Like a Christian, Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry and Proclamation And Theology: Horizons in Theology Series (Horizons in Theology)His articles have appeared in many publications including The Christian Ministry, Quarterly Review, Liturgy, Worship, and Christianity Today. His Pulpit Resource is used each week by over eight thousand pastors in the U.S.A., Canada, and Australia. He was selected in a Baylor University survey as one of the "Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World."