A Case Study of Life Strategies in Growing Late Modern Churches
Author: Karl Inge Tangen
Why do people identify with growing late modern churches – and does identification lead to morally transforming commitments beyond late modern consumerism? This case study presents findings that may inspire both social scientists and theological practitioners to new forms of thinking.
Religion and Politics in Deuteronomy and the Modern World
Author: Rob Barrett
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
The goal of the work is a heuristic reading strategy for a modern reader to engage with YHWH's threats against Israel in Deuteronomy. This goal is accomplished in three steps. First, the biblical text is considered through close reading to discern the logic of YHWH's threats: what motivates the threats, what form the threats take, and what effect the threats expect to produce. Second, a modern analogy is sought that most helpfully matches the structure and logic observed in the biblical text. A number of common modern analogies for the divine-human relationship (e.g., parent-child, master-slave, husband-wife) are deemed unhelpful because they cannot support the features of the biblical pattern. However, the threats of the modern state against those who threaten it are found to bear significant resemblance. Finally, this analogy is developed for each of several significant passages of Deuteronomy. In order to justify and substantiate the analogy, this book examines the religious and political background surrounding both Deuteronomy and the modern state through historical reflection. Since there are significant differences between the religio-political situations, sociological perspectives are used to provide patterns that can be applied within both the ancient and modern contexts. Finally, although the focus of the work is on establishing an analogy between YHWH's threats and those of the modern state, the book dedicates one chapter to discussing dis-analogous features to avoid over-emphasizing the similarity between the two.
The Performance of Biblical Chant in Contemporary Judaism
Author: Jeffrey Summit
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Singing God's Words is the first in-depth study of the experience and meaning of chanting or "reading" Torah among contemporary American Jews. This experience has been transformed dramatically in recent years by the impact of digital technology, feminism, the empowerment of lay people and a search for self-fulfillment through involvement with community. At a time when worshippers seek deeper spiritual experience, many Jews have found new meaning in the experience of reading Torah, an act that is broadly accessible to Jewish adults even as it requires intensive immersion with the text of the Bible in Hebrew. This book examines why and how growing numbers of American Jews in all denominations see the public chanting of Biblical texts during the synagogue service as one of the most authentic and personal expressions of their religious identity. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with men and women, both professionals and congregants, Jeffrey A. Summit describes how the reading of Torah embodies their understanding of historical religious practice, even as it is shaped by contemporary views of spiritual experience. Through this act, holiness becomes manifest at the intersection of Biblical chant, sacred text, the individual, and the community.
Combining Jewish, Greek, and Roman teachings with the radical new teachings of Christ and St. Paul, Christianity helped to cultivate the cardinal ideas of dignity, equality, liberty and democracy that ground the modern human rights paradigm. Christianity also helped shape the law of public, private, penal, and procedural rights that anchor modern legal systems in the West and beyond. This collection of essays explores these Christian contributions to human rights through the perspectives of jurisprudence, theology, philosophy and history, and Christian contributions to the special rights claims of women, children, nature and the environment. The authors also address the church's own problems and failings with maintaining human rights ideals. With contributions from leading scholars, including a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, this book provides an authoritative treatment of how Christianity shaped human rights in the past, and how Christianity and human rights continue to challenge each other in modern times.
In our culture it's more socially acceptable to be depressed than to be lonely. Yet loneliness is the inevitable by-product of our frenetic contemporary lifestyle. In this marvelously acute critique of how we live, Drs. Jacqueline Olds and Richard S. Schwartz show how the American way of life can lead to social isolation. Calling on their extensive clinical experience, new social surveys, and recent research on the effects of social exclusion, Olds and Schwartz uncover the ripple effects of social isolation in areas as varied as physical health, children's emotional problems, substance abuse, violent crimeeven global warming.
What exactly does it mean to be North American? Europeans have been engaged in a long-running debate about the meaning and nature of Europe. The Labyrinth of North American Identities generates a similar discussion in the context of North America: what do we learn about North America as a unit and its individual countries when we explore the idea of a shared North American identity? Combining cultural, anthropological, historical, political, economic, and religious considerations, Philip Resnick acknowledges the relative differences in power and influence of the United States and its North American neighbours but digs deeper to uncover shared characteristics that constitute a labyrinth of North American identities unrestricted by national boundaries. To date, discussions of North America have largely revolved around the often technical implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or US homeland security. What has been lacking, by contrast, is a culturally-driven set of reflections. This book examines the legacy of indigenous cultures; the role of organized religion; pathways to independence; the role of imperial languages; manifest destiny; market capitalism and its limitations; democratic practices and failures; diverging uses of the state; new world utopias and dystopias; regional identities; and civilizational perspectives. What results is a vision of North America that defies any top-down attempt to impose a homogeneous "North Americanness."
Through a series of essays contributed by leading experts in the field, The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology presents an introduction to practical theology as a major area of Christian study and practice, including an overview of its key developments, themes, methods, and future directions. The first comprehensive reference work to provide a survey, description and analysis of practical theology as an area of study A range of leading scholars in the field provide original contributions on the major areas, issues, and figures in practical theology Reviews an extensive range of methods for studying theology in practice, along with sub-disciplines in theological education such as pastoral care and preaching Covers developments in the discipline in a range of global contexts and distinct Christian traditions Shows how practical theology is relevant to everyday life
From the founding of the first colonies until the present, the influence of Christianity, as the dominant faith in American society, has extended far beyond church pews into the wider culture. Yet, at the same time, Christians in the United States have disagreed sharply about the meaning of their shared tradition, and, divided by denominational affiliation, race, and ethnicity, they have taken stances on every side of contested public issues from slavery to women's rights. This volume of twenty-two original essays, contributed by a group of prominent thinkers in American religious studies, provides a sophisticated understanding of both the diversity and the alliances among Christianities in the United States and the influences that have shaped churches and the nation in reciprocal ways. American Christianities explores this paradoxical dynamic of dominance and diversity that are the true marks of a faith too often perceived as homogeneous and monolithic. Contributors: Catherine L. Albanese, University of California, Santa Barbara James B. Bennett, Santa Clara University Edith Blumhofer, Wheaton College Ann Braude, Harvard Divinity School Catherine A. Brekus, University of Chicago Divinity School Kristina Bross, Purdue University Rebecca L. Davis, University of Delaware Curtis J. Evans, University of Chicago Divinity School Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University Kathleen Flake, Vanderbilt University Divinity School W. Clark Gilpin, University of Chicago Divinity School Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado at Boulder Jeanne Halgren Kilde, University of Minnesota David W. Kling, University of Miami Timothy S. Lee, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University Dan McKanan, Harvard Divinity School Michael D. McNally, Carleton College Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame Jon Pahl, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia Sally M. Promey, Yale University Jon H. Roberts, Boston University Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University