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Christianity and Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and Possibilites of Faithful Witness [Paperback]

Luke Bretherton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 Jan 2010 1405199695 978-1405199698 1
Congratulations to Luke Bretherton on winning the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing for Christianity and Contemporary Politics ! Relations between religious and political spheres continue to stir passionate debates on both sides of the Atlantic. Through a combination of theological reflection and empirical case studies, Bretherton succeeds in offering timely and invaluable insights into these crucial issues facing 21 st century societies.  Explores the relationship between Christianity and contemporary politics through case studies of faith–based organizations, Christian political activism and welfare provision in the West; these case studies assess initiatives including community organizing, fair trade, and the sanctuary movement Offers an insightful, informative account of how Christians can engage politically in a multi–faith, liberal democracy Integrates debates in political theology with inter–disciplinary analysis of policy and practice regarding religious social, political and economic engagement in the USA, UK, and continental Europe Reveals how Christians can help prevent the subversion of the church – and even of politics itself – by legal, bureaucratic, and market mechanisms, rather than advocating withdrawal or assimilation Engages with the intricacies of contemporary politics whilst integrating systematic and historical theological reflection on political and economic life

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (12 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405199695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405199698
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 495,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Luke Bretherton is Associate Professor in Theological Ethics and a Senior Fellow of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Before joining Duke he was Reader in Theology & Politics and Convener of the Faith & Public Policy Forum at King's College London. He has worked with a variety of faith-based NGOs, mission agencies and churches around the world, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. His first book, Hospitality as Holiness: Christian Witness Amid Moral Diversity (Ashgate, 2006) explores the churches response to moral pluralism in critical dialogue with Alasdair MacIntyre's moral philosophy and develops a constructive, theological response to the issues identified using euthanasia and the hospice movement as a case study. His recent work has focused on faith-based organizations, the church's involvement in social welfare provision, the treatment of refugees, community organizing and fair trade. That work is drawn together in Christianity & Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and Possibilities of Faithful Witness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), winner of the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing. When living in the United Kingdom, he was actively involved in politics as part of London Citizens, a broad-based community organization, and had a role advising the government on strengthening civil society. His most recent book is entitled Resurrecting Democracy: Faith, Citizenship and the Politics of a Common Life (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is based on an ethnographic study undertaken as part of a three-year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project for which he was principal investigator (2008-2011). The book addresses debates about the relationship between democratic citizenship, religious beliefs and practices, and the power of money.

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Winner of the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing! “A deeply hospitable book, which is rooted in evangelical orthodoxy, but is clearly open to public dialogues and unafraid to speak within them in its own accent … [Bretherton’s] account of listening as a Christian political practice is outstanding and inspiring. This is a very fine book, which deserves the attention and engagement of the practical theological community.”  ( International Journal of Practical Theology , 19 July 2012) “My hope is that the ideas contained here will not remain in the academy but will provide  momentum for a challenging Christian encounter with the issues and injustices of our political and social context.”  ( Modern Believing , 1 April 2012) "[Bretherton] establishes himself in this book as a leading figure in political theology by giving a profound synthetic account of political theory and theology." ( Church Times , 2010) "I′ll be giving Christianity and Contemporary Politics to my graduate students and others seeking to become authors and academics. It is a model of the kind of book a scholar should be looking to write." ( Christian Century , June 2011) "This is a wonderful book, perhaps the best book on contemporary Christianity and politics in liberal nation–states I have read. It is both based in concrete practices and theoretically aware. Most of all, its author exhibits the virtues necessary to undertake such a task: he is generous, faithful, and engaged with real communities of Christians and others. I will be using this book with students, and recommending it to colleagues." ( Studies in Christian Ethics , June 2011) "I strongly recommend this book as one of the most fascinating accounts of the relationship between politics and religion in contemporary society. The author has mastered very skillfully several bodies of literature from different disciplines and presented a new synthesis of them. He points a way forward that takes into account traditional ways of understanding religious faith and practice but practiced in the very new and emergent conditions of the twenty–first century." ( Politics, Religion & Ideology , December 2011) "This book is important, though not always an easy read. However, the effort will reward those who persevere with new insights about the mission of the church and the witness of the individual Christian. It should prove particularly refreshing to those who train ministers and church–related community workers, as well as to all who struggle with political and community issues within the church in its Big Society." ( Reform , 1 May 2011) "Over the past decade political theology has become one of the most energetic (and polemical) conversations in the field of theology. Bretherton makes a signal contribution to these debates as a voice characterized by critical charity. While the field has tended to line up in camps (e.g., Niebuhrians vs. Hauenvasians), Bretherton is eager to affirm what′s right in both without shrinking from criticizing either. The great virtue of this book is that it moves the conversation from the abstract environs of national politics and ′church–state′ questions to the nitty–gritty environs of the municipal pursuit of the common good (or rather, as Bretherton emphasizes, goods in common). Changing the scope and scale of the question, the book provides a fresh analysis through a series of case studies that are attentive to place – considering, for example, the community organizing of Saul Alinsky (the space of Obama′s apprenticeship) as a case of the church concretely impacting the shared space of common goods. Neither beset by worries about Constantinianism, nor motivated by pretensions to Christendom, this book deserves wide attention." ( CHOICE , December 2010) "I cannot commend it highly enough." ( Regent′s Reviews , 1 October 2010) "Bretherton is one of the most helpful voices engaging culture in a way that results in robust witness and faithful Gospel proclamation. And so this book is enthusiastically recommended to all concerned with relevant Christian witness in ever changing Western political situations." ( European Journal of Theology , 2010)


“I confess I did not think this book could be written. But it can be done because Bretherton has done it. He has written this marvelous book that engages the complex theoretical issues necessary to develop a constructive theological politics without losing sight of concrete social challenges associated with community organizing, immigration, and consumerism. Bretherton has set a new standard in Christian political reflection.” —Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School "Sophisticated, erudite, deeply insightful, and written with a passion born out of political engagement. Bretherton pushes the field of political theology into fresh pastures ... This book will serve many, not just political theorists and theologians." —Gaving D′Costa, University of Bristol

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4.0 out of 5 stars Christianity and Contemporary Politics 13 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is a very thorough and carefully thought out examination of the relevance of Christianity to contemporary politics, the only limitation is his love of polysyllabic words.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth it 11 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
one of the best writers around in the UK- a good overview of the subject and a fine read. Pity he moved to Duke
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing new voice in Christian Theological Ethics 29 Jan 2011
By JBR - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bretherton's book weaves together previously published essays and new material into a whole. After the introduction and first chapter on issues regarding church-state-welfare partnership, Bretheron examines a different aspect of human community: local, national, and global. What is so refreshing about this work is the way that Bretherton combines theology, social theory, sociology, and case studies into a powerful work of Christian theological ethics While there is a bid of unevenness between chapters (especially the move from chapter 1 to the rest of the book), the chapter on aslyum seekers and the Church's call to hallow bare life is worth the price of the book. Bretheron's book is an important one and I look forward to more contributions from this younger scholar.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 24 July 2014
By Rosie S Goolsby - Published on
Helps in my studies for my masters.
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