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The Politics of Discipleship: Becoming Post-material Citizens [Paperback]

Graham Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 Oct 2009
Graham Ward is well known for his thoughtful engagement with postmodernism and contemporary critical theology. In this publication he provides a broader audience with an engaging account of the inherently political nature of postmodernity and thoughts on what it means to live the Christian faith within that setting. Ward provides an accessible guide to contemporary postmodernism and its wide-ranging implications and develops a model of discipleship that informs a faith seeking understanding, which Ward describes as 'the substance of the church's political life'.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: SCM Press (30 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0334043506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0334043508
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Graham Ward's The Politics of Discipleship is an extraordinary book. Ward does nothing less than help us see how world and church implicate each other by providing an insightful and learned account of the transformation of democracy, the perversities of globalization, and the ambiguities of secularization. Perhaps even more significant is his theological proposal for the difference the church can make in the world so described.' --Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University

About the Author

The Revd Prof. Graham Ward is Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics at the University of Manchester and Head of the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought and action 2 Jun 2010
By Slainte
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All too often theory speaks at too great a distance from human experience and too closely to itself and about itself, a tenuous shadow rant the multiplication of which is fed by glances at the actual, yet never taking too long a look at the light of long-lived understanding - not so Professor Ward's 'Politics of Discipleship'. This offering successfully bridges the chasm between the richness of theory and the realness of living. Engagingly explored are the historical and the lived religious humanity understood as a source appropriated by the religious-like society - a thinly spread society arrogating the wealth of Judeo-Christian wisdoms to create discourses and ideologies under which the contemporary person becomes a depoliticized individual. The first part gives an overview of where we're at and why we're here. In the second part, through opening up the layers of Pauline and gospel narratives that are in themselves politically motivated, the reader is shown how and why the religious person is political and, therefore, powerful within the community of commitment. The isolated and depoliticized individual of the amorphous and secularised day-to-day is shown a new path back to personhood and the longed for definition upon which human fulfillment depends.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book on Metaphysics 21 July 2013
By Nicholas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Graham Ward provides theological and metaphysical insight into 'the church' and 'the world' and how, as Hauerwas put it, they "implicate each other." This is rather serious and 'proper' theologizing and not for 'everyone' as other books in the series have aimed to do. Basically, ask yourself a few questions... Do I want to know if the modern city has an traceable eschatology? Do I want to learn how globalization squirmed its way out of the Christian tradition? What are the metaphysics of American 'liberal democracy' and 'neoliberal economics'? etc.

If one understands what the book is aiming to do, and braces for how much erudition Ward uses to do it... then they will love it!
7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More politics than discipleship 27 July 2010
By Joseph M. Hennessey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had higher hopes for this book than it delivered. The title made me think of "Gaudium et Spes," the document of the Catholic Ecumenical Vatican II Council, regarding the Church in the Modern World. But The Politics of Discipleship divided World from Church, not interweaving the two, as much as Gaudium et Spes did.

When I hear or read the word 'Politics,' even when it claims to be about the Aristotelian notion of politics, humans acting to govern their city (polis), or nation, I reach for my wallet, and I'm glad i did in the case of this book.

From the title, one would expect that the author would be equally congratulatory, or equally severe, on every human political party (in this case, American) orientation. But one would be wrong. By my count, there are at least 7 or 8 references to US President George W. Bush, and each one of those are derogatory. Now, it is fine for one to deplore the presidency of George W. Bush, but do not make him into paradigm of all evil. Also, the first half of the book, and many places in the second half, on the Church, are very hard on "laissez faire" capitalism, and not nearly as hard on the much more materialistic Marxism--the words 'Soviet Union' are not found in the book.

But no one I know is in favor of laissez faire, completely unregulated capitalism, so Ward is arguing against the proverbial straw man. Indeed, the word 'capitalism' is most reminiscent of Marx' Das Kapital, which hardly qualifies as a reputable source in our day.

Regarding both capitalism (which Pope John Paul II would rather call the 'market economy) and democracy, everyone would agree that they are the worst economic and political systems, except for all the others. Thus, Ward's book comes across as a brief for the Left.

On the other hand, I found in Chapter 7, the last chapter, much good Biblical exegesis.

Take this book 'cum grano salis.'
3 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars His Schtick: He is Suspicious of Democracy, Yawn! 18 Jun 2012
By Peter P. Fuchs - Published on Amazon.com
This book is just a rehash of the usual reactionary nonsense in the form of postmodern rhetoric. He is one of the new sort of thinkers that distrusts liberal democracy, because of a very tendentious interpretation of Christendom's history. It flouts actual history itself, in the course of it. On p. 25, he says that though the Roman Church was expanding it had a greater sense of its "smallness." Ridiculous. The opposite is true. But that he says it is no surprise because such reactionary fellows are at pains to portray the expansion of Christendom's actual ambitions as some how not as merely material as they were. The Counter-Reformation it a bit of an inconvenience for their theory. It is all about blaming the Enlightenment in the end, and liberal democracy. It is pure foolishness, and cussedness from people who have benefitted so much from it. Modern culture is filled with problems, no doubt, but the answer is NOT to demean what is good in those developments. The nadir of this way of thinking comes in his utterly false statement that democracy is somehow intrinsically unstable. Amazingly, one can limn a cypto-neo-monarchist effort in this thinking and that of a scholar that Ward praises, Christopher Ferrara. His thinking is so base, that he sees democracy as the forcing ground of totalitarianism. Incredible. The book seems the purest nonsense from the actual historical perspective of real life. But in a theology department, which needs someone safely reactionary enough to handle the postmodern effluvia it is like like the Ruach of the spirit blowing down the graduate halls with some naughty, outre Foucaultian tropes caught in the wind.
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