Archives For Ethics

 

Let’s Talk About Sex
(In Its Wholeness)
 
A Feature Review of 

Good Christian Sex:
Why
Chastity Isn’t the Only Option—And Other Things the Bible Says About Sex
Bromleigh McCleneghan

Paperback: HarperOne, 2016
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Reviewed by Heather Caliri

 

Decades ago in my high school youth group, a young married couple spoke at the yearly sex talk. Before their engagement, and despite both previously losing their virginity, they chose to seek a ‘second virginity’ together, committing to chastity and their faith until they married.

What a beautiful lesson for me as a new, rather conservative Christian: that chastity was a practice for both men and women, that losing one’s virginity wasn’t devastating, and that even unmarried couples should have frank, vulnerable conversations about sex.

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Reducing Suffering Where We Can
 
A Review of
 

Vegangelical: How Caring for Animals Can Shape Your Faith
S
arah Withrow King

Paperback: Zondervan, 2016
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Reviewed by Alisa Williams
 
 
As someone who was raised in a large Christian community that actively promotes the virtues of vegetarian and vegan diets, I was intrigued to learn about Vegangelical. I’ve been vegetarian my entire life – raised by parents whose faith led them to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle in early adulthood, and King’s premise that “animal stewardship is part of a holistic ethic of Christian peace and justice” is I something I wholeheartedly agree with.

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Enacting New and more Humane Types of Social, Political & Economic Practices

A Feature Review of

Field Hospital: The Church’s Engagement with a Wounded World
William Cavanuagh

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2016.
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Reviewed by James Honig

 

Timing is everything. For the church of Christ trying to be faithful to their call to be salt and light in the middle of a particularly rancorous and strange presidential campaign, comes a new volume from William Cavanaugh, a theologian whose new work I always eagerly look forward to and who has been consistently helpful in my own understanding of how the church engages with the world. The title for his new volume comes from an image Pope Francis has used for the church, that the church needs to go near to the wounds of the world and engage the wounded with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this volume, Cavanaugh further explicates how he thinks that might happen.

The book is a collection of essays, nearly all of them previously published in a variety of academic journals.  While Cavanaugh (or an astute editor) attempts to fashion the various essays into a reasonable narrative arc, they remain, in my judgment, a collection of relatively independent though related essays.

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Can we live toward a peaceable kingdom?

A Review of

The End of Captivity? A Primate’s Reflections on Zoos, Conservation, and Christian Ethics
Tripp York

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2015
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Reviewed by Marilyn Matevia

 

According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, more people visit zoos in the United States each year than attend games for all four major league sports, combined.[1] It’s an impressive number, especially considering that zoos in many parts of the US have lower attendance during winter months, while sports events draw crowds throughout the calendar year. For many, there is undeniable attraction and entertainment value in a zoo visit, or we wouldn’t be flocking to the gates in these numbers. What accounts for the attraction? Why do we find animals in zoos so enthralling?

These are among the questions Tripp York asks in his new book, The End of Captivity? A Primate’s Reflections on Zoos, Conservation, and Christian Ethics. He also poses the more fundamental questions behind them: what does our fascination with captive animals reveal about us, and about our views on our place – and their place – in creation? Why do we keep animals in captivity (especially in zoos and aquariums)? More importantly, when we keep animals in captivity, are we enabling, or thwarting, their God-given purpose? And what IS their God-given purpose?

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Testing the Possibilities of Nonviolence

A Feature Review of

Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands But Most Christians Have Never Really Tried
Ronald Sider

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2015
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Reviewed by Tyler Campbell

 

Ronald Sider has worn many hats since publishing his bestselling book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger in 1977. He has contributed to organizations such as Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, as well as the Social Action Commission of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is also the founder and President of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA), and Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary. Sider’s passion for combining the worlds of theology and social justice has provided the framework for the majority of his writings throughout his career. His most recent book, Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands But Most Christians Have Never Really Tried, focuses on the Christian call to nonviolence by showcasing successful nonviolent campaigns. By tying his argument not only to the biblical call of Jesus, but to successful pacifist movements, Sider has written a book that will be useful in both the academy and the church.

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A Whole Different World

A review of

Not As the World Gives: The Way of Creative Justice

Stratford Caldecott

Paperback: Second Spring, 2014.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

 

Reviewed by Sam Edgin

 

As crowd-sourced media plays its hand in defining what our culture is, and as news aggregation-by-way-of-popularity sites — such as Reddit — grasp more public interest, the Christian church will, and indeed already does, find itself in a culturally unique situation. Within current social media, stories, videos and pictures of what the Christian society would term “hope” and “love” and “justice” frequently attain virality and become behemoths of social popularity. This is good. In fact, this is something to be celebrated by Christians everywhere. The problem mentioned earlier, however, is that Christianity, in light of the popularity of an almost “Christian” justice throughout secular society, has found itself with less and less actions and postures that it can champion as uniquely Christian. That is, if the world’s justice appears much the same as Christianity’s justice, or even better than it, the argument that Christianity offers a better world seems to weaken in impact.

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Phil Kenneson

Here is the fifth of the audio recordings from the Slow Church Conference that we hosted last month here at Englewood Christian Church. (The sixth and final recording will be posted next week.)

Previously posted talks from the Slow Church conference:

Our aim for the conference was to foster conversation around the work of several key theologians whose work inspired the Slow Church book that John Pattison and I wrote.

[ Download a FREE sampler of the SLOW CHURCH book here… ]

Phil Kenneson is Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Milligan College in Eastern Tennessee.

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Thinking Theologically about Water

A Feature Review of

Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis

Christiana Peppard

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2014
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Reviewed by Myes Werntz
 
As I read Christiana Peppard’s timely and thoughtful Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis, Texas is currently turning toward its long, brutal summer. Last year, despite ample rainfall, a number of growing regions throughout the state made the news because of what, to many, had seemed to be an impossible question—that drinking water from the aquifers beneath the cities was running short. As Peppard points out, fresh water—an unsubstitutable feature of every ecosystem —remains less than 2.5% of all available water in the world, and yet, it is treated as an endless commodity. But just the same, fresh water—one of the invisible, most taken-for-granted aspects of creation—is taken for granted, harvested at unsustainable rates worldwide. It is how to think and act about this global necessity that Peppard proposes to unpack in her volume.
 
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Moral Ground - K.D. Moore and M.P. Nelson, Eds.Haunted by a Future

A Review of

Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril

Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson, Editors

Paperback: Trinity University Press, 2011
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Reviewed by Gregory A. Clark

Moral Ground is haunted by a future.

The editors, Moore and Nelson, begin their introduction with an analogy.  Dinosaurs continued to feed and care for their young even while an asteroid tumbled toward the earth.  When that asteroid crashed into the earth it began a chain of events that undermined the various species of dinosaurs.  So also, we (where “we” means the human species) potential dinosaurs that we are, continue our life as usual while the equivalent of an asteroid, climate change, bears down upon us.  We all ought to be haunted by the future.

But, Moore and Nelson point out that analogy is not necessity.  We are not there yet. We have three things the dinosaurs lacked: (1) a warning, (2) an imperative, and, for now, (3) a future. Let’s look at Moore and Nelson’s position on each of these points.

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Annemarie Kidder - Ultimate Price A Brief Review of

Ultimate Price: Testimonies of Christians who Resisted the Third Reich

Annemarie Kidder.

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

Conversations about Christian ethics, and particularly ones that address questions of war and violence, if they go on long enough, will eventually come to the question: What about Hitler? All too often Christians are plagued in such conversations by their narrow imaginations about how the church should respond to a tyrant like Hitler – i.e., by backing the full military force of the nation-state.   The strength of Annemarie Kidder’s new book Ultimate Price: Testimonies of Christians who Resisted the Third Reich is that the stories it contains stretch our imaginations about the sorts of options that are available as Christian responses to a regime like the Third Reich.

The book begins with stories that are familiar: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Franz Jäggerstätter and Sophie Scholl (who some readers may be familiar with as a result of the 2005 documentary Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, a scene from which has been used on the front cover of Kidder’s new book).  Also included are Alfred Delp, S.J., Jochen Klepper, Bernhard Lichtenberg and Rupert Mayer, S.J.  Each person’s story is told primarily through their own words, with an introduction by Kidder.  The pieces are mostly short, and can feel a bit disjointed in places, but overall they come together in a vibrant mosaic that bears witness to the truth and justice of Christ.

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