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Christians in the Public Square: Faith that Transforms Politics [Paperback]

By Ellen Ott Marshall (Author)
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Overview
Christianity's chief contribution to America's civic life resides less in the ideas and positions Christians promote than in the way they go about promoting them. Debate about our shared life as citizens has always been a vigorous affair in American history. Yet recent years have seen a hardening of positions and a refusal to cross boundaries to cooperate or even understand those with whom we disagree. Not only in the rough and tumble world of political campaigns, but even in the historically more bipartisan world of governance, the American public square has become a fundamentally divided place. One reason for this situation, says Ellen Marshall, is an absolutizing of the ethical positions that underlie political commitments. Both the religious right and the secular left have couched their ideas in terms of unbending moral principles, certain in their possession of the truth. But Christian ethics teaches us that, while God's truth is indeed absolute, our grasp of it never is. Christians can best contribute to the contemporary political conversation by a rigorous and sustained exercise of the virtue of humility.

Publishers Description
Christianity 's chief contribution to America 's civic life resides less in the ideas and positions Christians promote than in the way they go about promoting them.
Debate about our shared life as citizens has always been a vigorous affair in American history. Yet recent years have seen a hardening of positions and a refusal to cross boundaries to cooperate or even understand those with whom we disagree. Not only in the rough and tumble world of political campaigns, but even in the historically more bipartisan world of governance, the American public square has become a fundamentally divided place.
One reason for this situation, says Ellen Marshall, is an absolutizing of the ethical positions that underlie political commitments. Both the religious right and the secular left have couched their ideas in terms of unbending moral principles, certain in their possession of the truth. But Christian ethics teaches us that, while God's truth is indeed absolute, our grasp of it never is. Recognizing this truth, Christians can more faithfully engage in the political sphere by:
- Insisting on a rigorous and sustained exercise of the virtue of humility.
- Charting a narrative understanding of Christian ethics, in which a rich description of the context of moral decisions is necessary to understand how right and how wrong they are.
- Taking account of the moral ambiguity that resides in almost all human actions.
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Item Specifications...


Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages   133
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2008
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687646987  
ISBN13  9780687646982  


Availability  0 units.


More About Ellen Ott Marshall


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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Church & State


Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General



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Reviews - What do customers think about Christians in the Public Square: Faith that Transforms Politics?

Thoughful, timely and scholarly reflections on a matter of great importance to the polity.  Mar 6, 2009
Dr. Marshall covers important ground here. As with her other work she strikes a delicate balance: enabling accessibility for the non-academic reader while maintaining a serious, scholarly approach. Love, Moral Ambiguity and Theological Humility are the framework on which she builds an argument for responsible engagement by Christians in the public square (an approach, incidentally, which would work just as well for our Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist brothers and sisters).

For Dr. Marshall, a principled approach to engagement in the public square demands that the Christian activist not use the end goal to justify his means, but rather see the means as part and parcel of the end. To the dismay of fundamentalists everywhere, this means that bombing abortion clinics, flying airplanes into office towers, and similar loveless means are off the table. Instead of easy answers and immediate action plans the thinking faithful must reflect on the chinks in their own armor, and strive for empathy with their opponents, before proceeding down the path of activism.

Good lessons, too little learned today by many of those driven by their faith to engage in politics.
 

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