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After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging

After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging
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On forming people who form communion

Theological education has always been about formation: first of people, then of communities, then of the world. If we continue to promote whiteness and its related ideas of masculinity and individualism in our educational work, it will remain diseased and thwart our efforts to heal the church and the world. But if theological education aims to form people who can gather others together through border-crossing pluralism and God-drenched communion, we can begin to cultivate the radical belonging that is at the heart of God's transformative work.

In this inaugural volume of the Theological Education between the Times series, Willie James Jennings shares the insights gained from his extensive experience in theological education, most notably as the dean of a major university's divinity school--where he remains one of the only African Americans to have ever served in that role. He reflects on the distortions hidden in plain sight within the world of education but holds onto abundant hope for what theological education can be and how it can position itself at the front of a massive cultural shift away from white, Western cultural hegemony. This must happen through the formation of what Jennings calls erotic souls within ourselves--erotic in the sense that denotes the power and energy of authentic connection with God and our fellow human beings.

After Whiteness is for anyone who has ever questioned why theological education still matters. It is a call for Christian intellectuals to exchange isolation for intimacy and embrace their place in the crowd--just like the crowd that followed Jesus and experienced his miracles. It is part memoir, part decolonial analysis, and part poetry--a multimodal discourse that deliberately transgresses boundaries, as Jennings hopes theological education will do, too.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780802878441
Publication Date: 
2020-09-15
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Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success

Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success
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From the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bad Religion, a powerful portrait of how our turbulent age is defined by dark forces seemingly beyond our control

Today the Western world seems to be in crisis. But beneath our social media frenzy and reality television politics, the deeper reality is one of drift, repetition, and dead ends. The Decadent Society explains what happens when a rich and powerful society ceases advancing--how the combination of wealth and technological proficiency with economic stagnation, political stalemates, cultural exhaustion, and demographic decline creates a strange kind of "sustainable decadence," a civilizational languor that could endure for longer than we think.

Ranging from our grounded space shuttles to our Silicon Valley villains, from our blandly recycled film and television--a new Star Wars saga, another Star Trek series, the fifth Terminator sequel--to the escapism we're furiously chasing through drug use and virtual reality, Ross Douthat argues that many of today's discontents and derangements reflect a sense of futility and disappointment--a feeling that the future was not what was promised, that the frontiers have all been closed, and that the paths forward lead only to the grave.

In this environment we fear catastrophe, but in a certain way we also pine for it--because the alternative is to accept that we are permanently decadent: aging, comfortable and stuck, cut off from the past and no longer confident in the future, spurning both memory and ambition while we wait for some saving innovation or revelations, growing old unhappily together in the glowing light of tiny screens.

Correcting both optimists who insist that we're just growing richer and happier with every passing year and pessimists who expect collapse any moment, Douthat provides an enlightening diagnosis of the modern condition--how we got here, how long our age of frustration might last, and how, whether in renaissance or catastrophe, our decadence might ultimately end.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781476785240
Publication Date: 
2020-02-25
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Forming Humanity: Redeeming the German Bildung Tradition

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Kant's proclamation of humankind's emergence from "self-incurred immaturity" left his contemporaries with a puzzle: What models should we use to sculpt ourselves if we no longer look to divine grace or received authorities? Deftly uncovering the roots of this question in Rhineland mysticism, Pietist introspection, and the rise of the bildungsroman, Jennifer A. Herdt reveals bildung, or ethical formation, as the key to post-Kantian thought. This was no simple process of secularization, in which human beings took responsibility for something they had earlier left in the hands of God. Rather, theorists of bildung, from Herder through Goethe to Hegel, championed human agency in self-determination while working out the social and political implications of our creation in the image of God. While bildung was invoked to justify racism and colonialism by stigmatizing those deemed resistant to self-cultivation, it also nourished ideals of dialogical encounter and mutual recognition. Herdt reveals how the project of forming humanity lives on in our ongoing efforts to grapple with this complicated legacy.
ISBN/SKU: 
9780226618487
Publication Date: 
2019-08-22
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Full of Your Glory: Liturgy, Cosmos, Creation

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2020 Catholic Press Association honorable mention award for faith and science

This collection of essays explores the rich and diverse intersections between the world of liturgy and the worlds of creation and the cosmos. The intersections highlighted here include biblical, historical, visual, and musical materials as well as contemporary theological and pastoral challenges for worship today. The essays gathered in this volume were first presented at the 2018 Yale Institute of Sacred Music Liturgy Conference and are here made available to a wider audience. These essays are responses to the unprecedented attention to ecological and cosmological concerns, which call for sustained engagement by scholars and practitioners of liturgy.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780814664568
Publication Date: 
2019-12-05
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Literary Theory and the New Testament

Literary Theory and the New Testament
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A comprehensive case for a fresh literary approach to the New Testament

For at least a half century, scholars have been adopting literary approaches to the New Testament inspired by certain branches of literary criticism and theory. In this important and illuminating work, Michal Beth Dinkler uses contemporary literary theory to enhance our understanding and interpretation of the New Testament texts.
 
Dinkler provides an integrated approach to the relation between literary theory and biblical interpretation, employing a wide range of practical theories and methods. This indispensable work engages foundational concepts and figures, the historical contexts of various theoretical approaches, and ongoing literary scholarship into the twenty-first century. In Literary Theory and the New Testament, Dinkler assesses previous literary treatments of the New Testament and calls for a new phase of nuanced thinking about New Testament texts as both ancient and literary.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780300219913
Publication Date: 
2019-11-26
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Pantheologies: Gods, Worlds, Monsters

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Pantheism is the idea that God and the world are identical--that the creator, sustainer, destroyer, and transformer of all things is the universe itself. From a monotheistic perspective, this notion is irremediably heretical since it suggests divinity might be material, mutable, and multiple. Since the excommunication of Baruch Spinoza, Western thought has therefore demonized what it calls pantheism, accusing it of incoherence, absurdity, and--with striking regularity--monstrosity.

In this book, Mary-Jane Rubenstein investigates this perennial repugnance through a conceptual genealogy of pantheisms. What makes pantheism "monstrous"--at once repellent and seductive--is that it scrambles the raced and gendered distinctions that Western philosophy and theology insist on drawing between activity and passivity, spirit and matter, animacy and inanimacy, and creator and created. By rejecting the fundamental difference between God and world, pantheism threatens all the other oppositions that stem from it: light versus darkness, male versus female, and humans versus every other organism. If the panic over pantheism has to do with a fear of crossed boundaries and demolished hierarchies, then the question becomes what a present-day pantheism might disrupt and what it might reconfigure. Cobbling together heterogeneous sources--medieval heresies, their pre- and anti-Socratic forebears, general relativity, quantum mechanics, nonlinear biologies, multiverse and indigenous cosmologies, ecofeminism, animal and vegetal studies, and new and old materialisms--Rubenstein assembles possible pluralist pantheisms. By mobilizing this monstrous mixture of unintentional God-worlds, Pantheologies gives an old heresy the chance to renew our thinking.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780231189477
Publication Date: 
2021-02-16
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Progressive Voice in the Catholic Church in the United States: Association of Pittsburgh Priests, 1966-2019

Progressive Voice in the Catholic Church in the United States: Association of Pittsburgh Priests, 1966-2019
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In the summer of 1966, one year after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, a group of nineteen Roman Catholic priests met clandestinely in a church hall in a suburb of Pittsburgh to discuss forming an independent group of ordained clergy. Fearful that meeting publicly might be viewed as a threat to the authority of the local bishop, thus potentially risking sanctioning from him, they used numbers, not names, when circulating the minutes of the first two meetings. Once the word spread among the local clergy that such a group was meeting, and they realized there was widespread interest, they went public and invited all of Pittsburgh's Catholic clergy, including the bishop, to their third meeting. They chose a name, the Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP), and the group was launched.

Shortly after forming, and with interest from among over two-hundred clergy, APP began advocating for major church renewal and involvement in any number of social justice issues. Regarding church renewal, they grounded themselves in the documents of Vatican II, most especially Gaudium et Spes, Church in the Modern World, and soon lobbied for optional celibacy and married priesthood, women's ordination, lay empowerment, including the promotion of the early church notion of the priesthood and prophethood of all believers. To this day, APP remains a force for change in the church and in society, ever true to its initial intuition to fully implement the renewal of church and society called for by the bishops at Vatican II.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781532691478
Publication Date: 
2019-10-29
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Recalling Our Own Stories: Spiritual Renewal for Religious Caregivers

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How religious caregivers can find spiritual renewal in their own storyRecalling Our Own Stories, which author Edward P. Wimberly describes as "a spiritual retreat in book form," is designed to help clergy and religious caregivers face the challenges of ministry. It is also a valuable resource for practitioners who assist these clergy and caregivers in meeting the challenges of their work.Wimberly enables caregivers to map out and come to grips with cultural expectations of their profession. He also helps readers explore and edit the mythologies that make up their self-image, attitudes toward others, expectations about their performance and role, and convictions about ministry. Finally, he provides a model for spiritual and emotional review grounded in narrative psychology and spiritual approaches.As Wimberly explains, this book offers a way to renew our motivation for ministry by reconnecting to our original call, visualizing again how God has acted and remains intricately involved in our lives.Wimberly demonstrates how religious caregivers, often facing burnout, can tap the sources of renewal that reside in the faith community.
ISBN/SKU: 
9781506454771
Publication Date: 
2019-02-01
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Religious Conflict in Brazil: Protestants, Catholics, and the Rise of Religious Pluralism in the Early Twentieth Century

Religious Conflict in Brazil: Protestants, Catholics, and the Rise of Religious Pluralism in the Early Twentieth Century
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The story of how Brazilian Catholics and Protestants confronted one of the greatest shocks to the Latin American religious system in its 500-year history

This innovative study explores the transition in Brazil from a hegemonically Catholic society to a religiously pluralistic society. With sensitivity, Erika Helgen shows that the rise of religious pluralism was fraught with conflict and violence, as Catholic bishops, priests, and friars organized intense campaigns against Protestantism. These episodes of religious violence were not isolated outbursts of reactionary rage, but rather formed part of a longer process through which religious groups articulated their vision for Brazil's national future.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780300243352
Publication Date: 
2020-06-23
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Thomas Berry: A Biography

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Thomas Berry (1914-2009) was one of the twentieth century's most prescient and profound thinkers. As a cultural historian, he sought a broader perspective on humanity's relationship to the earth in order to respond to the ecological and social challenges of our times. This first biography of Berry illuminates his remarkable vision and its continuing relevance for achieving transformative social change and environmental renewal.

Berry began his studies in Western history and religions and then expanded to include Asian and indigenous religions, which he taught at Fordham University, Barnard College, and Columbia University. Drawing on his explorations of history, he came to see the evolutionary process as a story that could help restore the continuity of humans with the natural world. Berry urged humans to recognize their place on a planet with complex ecosystems in a vast, evolving universe. He sought to replace the modern alienation from nature with a sense of intimacy and responsibility. Berry called for new forms of ecological education, law, and spirituality, as well as the creation of resilient agricultural systems, bioregions, and ecocities. At a time of growing environmental crisis, this biography shows the ongoing significance of Berry's conception of human interdependence with the earth as part of the unfolding journey of the universe.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780231176989
Publication Date: 
2019-06-04
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Toward a Common Future: Ecumenical Reception and a New Consensus

Toward a Common Future: Ecumenical Reception and a New Consensus
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This book provides a specific proposal for churches divided by centuries-long disputes and disagreements to move toward a vision of the unity of the church. It seeks to offer a way for divided churches to move beyond the present quagmire that challenges much of the modern ecumenical movement. Building upon the theological dialogues between the churches, this volume identifies and supplies a way for churches to regain a momentum that seems recently to have been lost in the ecumenical movement. ""In the context of his masterly telling of the story of the modern ecumenical movement, Dr. Rusch reflects on how to regain momentum in the move to unity in a time of stagnation. He urges churches to receive formally the results of their ecumenical dialogues by way of declarations that issue in closer relations and shared mission. The author's challenge deserves serious consideration by those charged with guiding the pilgrimage to unity today. A positive response might lead some churches away from self absorption and re-ignite in them a commitment to unity."" --Mary Tanner DBE, President for Europe, World Council of Churches, 2007-13 ""William G. Rusch is one of the great theological minds of our era. He has dedicated his gifts and passion to realizing the visible unity of the church of Jesus Christ. Toward a Common Future is his finest achievement to date. The specific proposal that he offers in Chapter 7 sets out the final steps of this long ecumenical journey toward visible unity that the pilgrim people of God have been on."" --Dale Irvin, President, New York Theological Seminary William G. Rusch is a member of the faculty of the Divinity School of Yale University. He has been a member of a number of national dialogues and the Joint Vatican-World Council of Churches Working Group. He is the author of Ecumenical Reception: Its Challenge and Opportunity (2007).
ISBN/SKU: 
9781532651694
Publication Date: 
2019-05-20
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Way of St. James Prayer Book

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The Way of St. James has an enduring draw for the modern seeker. Pilgrims have been seeking God, answers, and absolution ever since the relics of St. James were discovered in the early ninth century. Yet, the pilgrimage is decidedly modern. Amidst the busyness of modern life, we have a deep yearning to unplug from the noise of email, news feeds, and social media and to reconnect with ancient practices. We ache to reconnect with God. My hope is that this prayer book will help you invite God as a companion on your journey. The prayers and Scriptures will rest in your heart and mind as good company in your breathing, sweating, and striving. May you soak in these ancient words as you soak in the sun of northern Spain. As the physical exertion shapes and purifies you, let these prayers do the same. You are in good company. ""A caring physician, a mentor to medical students, and a local church pastor, Ben Doolittle minsters to those at the breaking points of body or soul. His adventure on the road to Santiago was to unplug from the life of a Yale Medical School professor, to travel deeper into his Christian life, and to gain a new perspective on his vocation. Many books offer to guide the feet of pilgrims on the physical path. This one provides the only thing he found lacking in his backpack: a simple guide to order and focus the inner journey. Its gentle, reflective selections of Scripture and prayer breathe the peace and insight to be found on the way, and invite others to take them as guideposts for a unique journey of their own."" --S. Mark Heim, Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology, Andover Newton Seminary at Yale, and Visiting Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School Benjamin R. Doolittle completed the Way of St. James in the summer of 2018 with his youngest daughter. He serves as a physician on the faculty of Yale Medical School and a pastor of a local congregation in New Haven, Connecticut.
ISBN/SKU: 
9781532677335
Publication Date: 
2019-03-22
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Weathering the Storm: Simple Strategies for Being Peaceful and Prepared

Weathering the Storm: Simple Strategies for Being Peaceful and Prepared
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Resilience enables us not only to survive adversity, but to be transformed by it. This book offers simple and proven strategies to develop resilience that will be of enormous benefit to anyone who is yearning to feel more peaceful and prepared. Coast Guard veteran, interfaith chaplain, and pastor Tracy Mehr-Muska shares the stories of her own struggles with self-esteem, sexual assault, and miscarriage that inspired her to research resilience and to enthusiastically reach this conclusion: resilience is not something that is inborn, but instead is a set of characteristics we can cultivate. Mehr-Muska brings these characteristics to life using inspirational secular and multifaith stories, as well as compelling scientific evidence. She ties each chapter together with an uplifting story of a personal friend that bravely and gracefully overcame obstacles and embodies each of these essential characteristics. Weathering the Storm also poses insightful questions for reflection and offers concrete strategies for implementation that can be used individually or in group contexts such as faith communities, families, and therapeutic relationships. Just as we practice fire drills before a fire happens, this book will help us be better equipped for the eventual storms of life so we can live with greater peace and preparedness. ""Weathering the Storm pulsates with hope without hint of smoothing over rough seas of human trauma and tragedy. With raw personal transparency and innovative attention to the resilience of her closest mates, former Coast Guard officer and current university chaplain Tracy Mehr-Muska coaxes us into believing in our capacity to endure. She reminds us again why we are alive. There is no simpler way to say it: your life will be richer for having read this brave and beautiful book."" --Robert C. Dykstra, Princeton Theological Seminary ""Mehr-Muska offers wise and accessible counsel to all of us who could use more resilience. Drawing from the life experience of a group of women she met in the Coast Guard, as well as her own years working in hospice and as a college chaplain, Mehr-Muska shows that resilience is not a magical attribute that only some have, but a set of skills that can be learned. A pleasure to read, this book is a deeply sensitive and insightful guide on how to meet life's challenges with clarity and courage."" --Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Wesleyan University ""Some people get stuck in a spiritual or political or personal traffic jam and start whining. Others start planning alternative routes. Still others make good use of the down time. Tracy's book helps you become a back roads, thoughtful, spirit-full, anywhere, any time kind of person."" --Donna Schaper, Judson Memorial Church Tracy W. Mehr-Muska, DMin, serves as a university chaplain at Wesleyan University. She is an ordained Presbyterian pastor, board-certified interfaith chaplain, Coast Guard veteran, wife, and mother. Her passion for learning about and teaching resilience has been inspired by the strong and spirited people she has served and worked alongside while in the military and while ministering in a trauma hospital, prison, psychiatric hospital, university, and hospice.
ISBN/SKU: 
9781532652370
Publication Date: 
2019-04-17
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