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Dorothy C.Bass is a writer, noted church historian, and director of the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith.
Image credit: The Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith

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Markeret
revbill1961 | 1 anden anmeldelse | May 4, 2023 |
This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend for anyone who interested find the practical application of their faith in daily life. It is full of stories that illustrate how to think and act in a deeper and wiser manner as a Christian.
 
Markeret
Aldon.Hynes | Sep 14, 2021 |
Summary: An anthology on what the well-lived life looks like exploring four important vocabularies and six vital questions through a range of religious and secular readings.

How might we live lives that matter? To whom or what will I listen as I discern my vocation. With and for whom will I live? What obligation do I have to human or other life? How shall I tell the story of my life. All of these are important questions for anyone who wants their lives to matter. This collection of nearly ninety readings, forty-seven new to this edition help to explore through a variety of genres these questions. Both religious and secular resources are included. The book is organized around four “vocabularies” used about the well-led life, and six important questions. Here are the vocabularies and questions along with a reading that particularly stood out (although the overall selection is outstanding).

Vocabularies

Authenticity: Charles Taylor’s “The Ethics of Authenticity”. Taylor argues that authenticity is not just a matter of doing one’s thing, but an identity formed by wrestling with deep questions of truth.

Virtue: “On Love” by Josef Pieper is one of the best and most concise essays on the different types of love, what we mean by the love of God and love for God.

Exemplarism: To understand the importance of exemplars, what they are and how we might observe them, I could not do better than Linda Zagzebski’s reading “Why Exemplarism.”

Vocation: The readings here were some of the strongest with contributions from Lee Hardy, C.S. Lewis, Denise Levertov, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I choose the one by Charles D. Badcock on “Choosing” who argues that vocation is not finding the one “right” job, but living for the will of God and doing what we please.

Questions:

Must My Job Be the Primary Source of My Identity? The essay by Dorothy L. Sayers, “Why Work?” is marked by her clear thinking and the idea of serving the work, serving God in our work.

To Whom and to What Should I Listen as I Decide What to Do for a Living? The selection from Lois Lowry’s The Giver in which each young member of the community is assigned their work by the elders explores the role of others in our choices of work and captures why this book is so well-loved. Among other good selections are those by Albert Schweitzer and James Baldwin.

With Whom and For Whom Shall I Live? Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif” explores the encounter of two orphans, one black and one white, later in life and the choice of whether childhood friendship or race would determine their relations. The essay by Martin Luther King, Jr., “The World House” is also powerful.

Is a Balanced Life Possible and Preferable to a Life Focused Primarily on Work? Perhaps the most thought-provoking is the article by Karen S. Sibert that answers that for some professional jobs, the answer is “no.” The reading is titled “Don’t Quit This Day Job.” Perhaps offsetting this is the concluding reading of the section, a selection from The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

What Are My Obligations to Future Human and Other Life? Larry Rasmussen writes a fictional letter to his grandson, “A Love Letter from the Holocene to the Anthropocene” on the failure of his generation to conserve the environment for that grandchild in terms of options, quality, and access. He raises profound questions about our failures to future generations. The section also features portions of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si.

How Shall I Tell The Story of My Life? The section begins with the marvelous poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and ends with Michael T. Kaufman’s “Robert McG Thomas, 60, Chronicler of Unsung Lives.” This last is the obituary of the New York Times noted obituary writer whose obituaries were stories that captured and honored the essence of generally unknown people. It makes you think about what stories will people tell of our lives.

I suspect the primary audience of a work like this is a capstone-type class still offered by many undergraduate colleges, reflecting on vocation and life’s big questions. But it is worthwhile for anyone examining their lives and sense of calling, not only for the vocabulary and the questions but for the excellence of the readings that hold up a mirror to our lives.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Markeret
BobonBooks | Oct 27, 2020 |
What does theology have to do with the so-called real life? Are theologians doing anything other than splitting hairs? Volf and Bass, along with all the contributors to this volume argue that theology is intimately connected with life. This connection is discerned through the concept of practice.

"In general use, a practice is a dense cluster of ideas and activities that are related to a specific goal and shared by a social group over time. . . . Christian practices are patterns of cooperative human activity in and through which life together takes shape over time in response to and in the light of God known in Jesus Christ" (3).

By engaging in theological reflection on Christian practice, the contributors to this volume—all academic theologians—demonstrate how important theology is for living faithfully in a changing world.

The various essays in this volume reflect on a diverse range of practice including healing, hospitality, theological education, and worship. Tammy Williams is particularly insightful in her essay, “Is There a Doctor in the House? Reflections on the Practice of Healing in African American Churches.” By examining the practice of African American churches, she uncovers three models of healing: care, cure, and holism.

Volf closes the book by arguing that while “Christian beliefs normatively shape Christian practices, and engaging in practices can lead to acceptance and deeper understanding of these beliefs,” beliefs take logical priority.

"Since we identify who God is through beliefs—primarily through the canonical witness to divine self-revelation—adequate beliefs about God cannot be ultimately grounded in a way of life; a way of life must be grounded in adequate beliefs about God" (260).

Practicing Theology functions on two levels. On the ground level, each article has something insightful to say about Christian practice. On a higher level, the book shows that theology is not a withdrawal from the world but a way to engage the life and practices of the Christian community more deeply.
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Markeret
StephenBarkley | 1 anden anmeldelse | Mar 14, 2017 |

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