Archives For Michael Bowling

 

“The Active and Persistent Pursuit
of Ecumenical Reconciliation

Part One of a Two-Part
Review of
Radical Ecumenicity:
Pursuing Unity and Continuity after
John Howard Yoder
.

John Nugent, Editor.

Reviewed by Michael J. Bowling, Chase Roden and Stephen Lawson.

[ Read this Book’s Intro Here… ]


Radical Ecumenicity:
Pursuing Unity and Continuity after
John Howard Yoder
.

John Nugent, Editor.
Paperback: Abilene Christian UP, 2010.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

[ Editor’s note:  This review of Radical Ecumenicity, edited by John Nugent is blazing new trails in its format for us here at The Englewood Review.  First, this review represents the first time that we’ve had several reviewers do a part-by-part review of a single book.  It is also the first time we have had a review that spanned two issues.  We will review the first half of the book this week and the second in next Friday’s issue.  We welcome your feedback on these new experiments with format. ]

John Howard Yoder’s work has been engaged from many angles in recent years, and Radical Ecumenicity collects essays from scholars connected to the Stone-Campbell tradition of churches (Churches of Christ, Independent Christian Churches, and Disciples of Christ) who are engaging Yoder’s work, as well as three key Yoder scholars from outside this tradition (Mark Thiessen Nation, Gayle Gerber Koontz and Craig Carter). Most of these papers were initially presented at the 2009 conference “John Howard Yoder and the Stone-Campbell Churches” held here at Englewood Christian Church in Indianapolis and attended by academics, pastors, students and laity from the Stone-Campbell Churches.  Several other relevant papers that were not presented at the conference have been added in this volume, including two relevant, but previously-obscure essays by Yoder.  We have asked our reviewers, all engaged readers who are familiar with Yoder’s work, to engage the work in this volume chapter-by-chapter.

How appropriate that John Nugent, the architect of the conference to consider the works of John Howard Yoder by those of the Stone-Campbell Movement would introduce a collection of essays centered on the same endeavor. Nugent not only sets the stage for such work, he provides the playbill for the essays which follow. In addition to the excellent and challenging essays, the reader is teased with the promise of an encore from Yoder himself…two previously published essays that have been increasingly difficult to track down.

Nugent observes that although the essays in the book were not written with a particular theme in mind, “they nevertheless address two prominent themes in the Stone-Campbell tradition, unity and continuity, albeit in a Yoderian key” (12). Twice, he points to Yoder’s emphasis on “robust and patient” dialogue as a way to pursue unity “across particular traditions”. The editor clearly identifies the important work, the work which Yoder did so skillfully and faithfully throughout his life, which is not so much to resolve the “ecumenical conundrum” but to move “estranged parties closer together” and to provide “practical resources for more fruitful dialogue.” This was Yoder’s gift to the whole Church, but it would seem to be of particular value to a tradition like the Stone-Campbell churches which have their origins in an appeal for Christian unity.

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Living on the Edge of Believing
(A Poem for the Season of Easter)
Michael J. Bowling

Living on the edge of believing ,
Where we have glimpses of a New Jerusalem
Where the shadows dance teasing our doubt,
Where fear of failure mocks our every halting step,
How do we move forward without slipping,
                                    tumbling
                                    falling?

Living on the edge of believing,
Where the fog of self hides the path ahead,
Where the blur of busyness distracts our attention,
Where the din of noise drowns out all thought,
How do we move forward without slipping,
                                    tumbling,
                                    falling?

Living on the edge of believing,
Where death fades into life,
Where despair gives way to hope,
Where fear cowers in the presence of love,
How do we move forward without slipping,
                                    tumbling,
                                    falling?