Archives For Ethics

 

 Looking inward.
 
 A Feature Review of

The Character Gap: How Good are We?
Christian B. Miller

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2018.
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Reviewed by Mary VanderGoot

 

When you pick up The Character Gap and see a picture of Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler on the dust jacket, you might expect the author is going to sort the good guys from the bad guys. Once you start reading, however, you realize that far from helping you point the finger at anyone else or create another hero, the author, Christian Miller, is inviting you to look inward.

This is a book written by the Director of the Character Project, which is being funded by the Templeton Foundation, and involves researchers around the world who are addressing basic questions about how people make moral choices. Gathering a wide range of findings together into an elaborate view of human behavior, the team of the Character Project is addressing one of the big questions: how good (or not) are we?

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The Silent, Invisible Wound

 

A Review of

War and Moral Injury
Robert Emmet Meagher and Douglas A. Pryer, Eds. 

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2018
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Reviewed by Shaun C. Brown

 

In 2014, Robert Emmet Meagher published his book Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War (Cascade Books). Therein he begins by saying that in 2012, there were an average of thirty-three suicides per month in the military. Meagher notes that this number does not even represent the gravity of the situation, for it does not include the number of suicides among veterans of past wars, or deaths due to self-destructive behavior (e.g., drug and alcohol abuse). While the military has known of the crisis for decades, they have done little to improve the situation. In the preface, Meagher states, “Our military, any military, knows all about killing the enemy. It is what they do, and our forces do it more effectively than most. What we are painfully coming to realize, however, is that we are also especially good at killing our own, killing them ‘from the inside out,’ silently, invisibly” (xiii).

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Dallas Willard’s unfinished masterpiece, was finished after his death by three of his students and is being published later this month.
 

The Disappearance
of Moral Knowledge

Dallas Willard
(Edited and Completed by Steven Porter, Aaron Preston, and Gregg Ten Elshof)

Hardback: Routledge, June 2018
Buy Now: [ Amazon

 

This is a very expensive academic book (if you’re interested in it and cannot afford a copy, maybe your local public or university library can purchase a copy).

The publisher has graciously released a 99-page excerpt from the book to give readers a substantial taste for the book’s contents.
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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.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  

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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