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Abstract

Apologies are frequently called for today, and can make a valuable contribution to the public good. However, many so-called apologies are actually vague regret, blaming, placating, excusing or merely mourning. Given their importance, this article explores their nature and proposes a taxonomy of sorrow that elucidates the meaning of claims to apology. Simply saying ‘I am sorry’, or worse, adding ‘that you’, ‘if I’, ‘but’ or ‘that’ does not make an apology. Such a statement is only an apology when responsibility and regret are both offered, without excuse, such as the confessing ‘I am sorry that I …’. Given apologies can help heal victims, restore offenders, encourage forgiveness, repair relationships, and contribute to justice and peace-making efforts, the development of such a taxonomy to improve apologies is in the public interest.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
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In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

This study investigates African American protests with particular interest in major movements of the civil rights and hip-hop eras. While scholars argue over the comparisons between the two eras, this work searches for underlining philosophical strands that may locate black protest as intimately cultural-theological. It considers Bourdieu’s habitus as ideological framework to understand philosophical and even more so theological dynamics of black protest. Cultural-theological conclusions inform contemporary protests of their ideological roots in philosophical underpinnings crucial to identity and more rigorous intergenerational effectiveness.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
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Abstract

While traditionally predicated of the individual’s will, sin seems to become enmeshed in our social structures and woven within the very fabric of our societies. The analysis of these social structures requires greater precision as does the manner in which the call to Christian charity conditions the response to them. This article seeks to extend the conceptual tool developed by Daniel Daly wherein social structures are evaluated in light of their vicious or virtuous nature with the help of nineteenth century abolitionist David Ruggles. Through this lens it becomes possible to see the vicious nature of a social structure that is concretized in the manner in which it shapes participants and, by extension, the manner in which it perverts the Christian community. Ruggles provides a helpful re-articulation of Christian charity as embodied resistance that seeks the progressive freedom of those in bondage.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
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Abstract

Christianity and democracy have in common the idea of equality before God and the law. But how seriously was this notion taken by the Christian architects of modern representative democracy, and how seriously is it taken in today’s deeply unequal democratic societies? Democracy has long embraced the idea of a formal equality of persons but has generally held substantive equality to be incompatible with the secure possession of private property, which is its overriding priority. This article explores the relationships of Christianity and democracy to property and wealth, and the ever-present tension in both between less and more rigorous forms of each. Christianity and democracy are for many people little more than identity markers, but their survival as robust and relevant approaches to social life depends on a vision – which includes Christ’s teachings on renunciation and democracy’s egalitarian ethos – underlying the forms.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

This article considers the significance of the public Christianity of the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (1894–1986). By excavating the socially conscious faith of the Edwardian upper classes, it locates Macmillan as the advocate of a unique synthesis of Disraelian Toryism and Christian Socialism. The discussion opens with an exploration of the origins of Macmillan’s politics. Drawing on the medievalism of William Morris, the Anglo-Catholicism of Ronald Knox, and Augustinian pessimism, Macmillan arrives at a sin-sensitive politics which seeks to tame capital and the state. The argument then considers how Macmillan’s rich articulation of Toryism has the capacity to challenge contemporary British Conservatives to recover and deepen their traditions of community-spirit and social justice. In an effort to contest a narrow description of British Toryism as a purely economic theory, I argue for a generous reassessment of a profoundly religious Toryism

Open Access
In: International Journal of Public Theology
In: International Journal of Public Theology
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Abstract

Communitarians and public theologians alike tend to discuss the church’s identity as a clearly demarcated community separated from the world or public life, each defining publicness as something that is found outside the church. It is a more likely argument that publicness is already present in the congregation as a place of difference: it is possible for the particulars of the community to interact, engage, and mutually benefit the various social realms present in and through the congregants. This public identity renders engagement with the public an unavoidable reality and provides an opportunity for the congregation to become a fruitful space for the work of public theology by embracing this reality through the development of a public posture of openness, accessibility, and accountability, which would improve both the church’s internal ministry and its ministry in the world beyond its community.

In: International Journal of Public Theology