In this provocative new contribution to public theology, world-renowned theologian Miroslav Volf (named "America's New Public Intellectual" by Scot McKnight on his Jesus Creed blog) and Matthew Croasmun explain that the intellectual tools needed to rescue us from our present malaise and meet our new cultural challenge are the tools of theology. A renewal of theology is crucial to help us articulate compelling visions of the good life, find our way through the maze of contested questions of value, and answer the fundamental question of what makes life worth living.
Praise for the cloth edition
Named one of the "Top 100 Books" and one of the "Top 10 Religion Books" of 2011 by Publishers Weekly
"Accessible, wise guidance for people of all faiths."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Highly original. . . . The book deserves a wide audience and is one that will affect its readers well after they have turned the final page."--Christianity Today (5-star review)
Volf seeks to counter the tendencies toward individualism in Protestant ecclesiology and to suggest a viable understanding of the church in which both person and community are given their proper due. In the process he engages in a sustained and critical ecumenical dialogue with the Catholic and Orthodox ecclesiologies of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and the metropolitan John Zizioulas. The result is a brilliant ecumenical study that spells out a vision of the church as an image of the triune God.
In Work in the Spirit, Miroslav Volf interprets work from a new perspective - in terms of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. He exhaustively explores the nature of work in both capitalist and socialist societies and considers a variety of work, including industrial, agricultural, medical, political, and artistic work. Examining the importance of alienation in work in industrial and information societies (particularly in the relation of workers to management and technology), he analyzes various forms of such alienation, and elucidates the character of humane work. On the basis of the "pneumatological" theology of work that he develops, Volf rejects the traditional Protestant understanding of work as vocation, and takes the concept of charisma as the cornerstone for his theological reflection on work. He denies that one is "called" to do a particular work irrespective of one's inclinations, and asserts, instead, that it is our privilege to do the kind of work for which God's spirit has gifted us. All human work done in accordance with the will of God, Volf argues, is cooperation with God in the preservation and transformation of the world.
While agreeing with the claim that to remember a wrongdoing is to struggle against it, Volf notes that there are too many ways to remember wrongly, perpetuating the evil committed rather than guarding against it. In this way, the just sword of memory often severs the very good it seeks to defend. He argues that remembering rightly has implications not only for the individual but also for the wrongdoer and for the larger community.
Volfs personal stories of persecution offer a compelling backdrop for his search for theological resources to make memories a wellspring of healing rather than a source of deepening pain and animosity. Controversial, thoughtful, and incisively reasoned, "The End of Memory" begins a conversation hard to ignore.
L. Gregory Jones
Amy Plantinga Pauw
Christian citizens have a responsibility to make political and ethical judgments in light of their faith and to participate in the public lives of their communities--from their local neighborhoods to the national scene. But it can be difficult to discern who to vote for, which policies to support, and how to respond to the social and cultural trends of our time.
This nonpartisan handbook offers Christians practical guidance for thinking through complicated public issues and faithfully following Jesus as citizens of their countries. The book focuses on enduring Christian commitments that should guide readers in their judgments and encourages legitimate debate among Christians over how to live out core values. The book also includes lists of resources for further reflection in each chapter and "room for debate" questions to consider.