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21. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Glen H. Stassen Resource Section on Just Peacemaking Theory
22. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Darryl M. Trimiew Jesus Changes Things: A Critical Evaluation of "Christ and Culture" from an African American Perspective
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Christ and Culture remains a useful heuristic device for discerning and interpreting the process of struggle and change produced by the attempts of the church to minister to the world. It is also helpful for ecclesial self-evaluations. While its typologies are conceptually imperfect, they can be used, nevertheless, to disclose important changes in society and within denominations. These attributes can and do help to facilitate the African American church's ongoing liberation efforts and therefore, hopefully, the flourishing of African American communities.
23. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Duane K. Friesen A Discriminating Engagement of Culture: "An Anabaptist Perspective"
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Niebuhr's definitions of "Christ" and "culture" set up a problematic dualism that leads to a misrepresentation of the Christ-against-culture type. The paper proposes that instead of Niebuhr's "idealized" Christ (defined by a set of virtues), an embodied Christology locates Christ within culture. The tension, then, is not between Christ and culture, but between different cultural visions. A cultural vision with Christ as norm provides a discriminating ethic of normative practices to engage culture. Many scholars have recognized that Niebuhr not only develops a descriptive typology in Christ and Culture, he also argues that the fifth type, Christ-the-transformer-of-culture, is the most adequate position. Almost everyone identifies with this type. Why is that? The problem is that the variety of meanings of "transformation" is not illuminated by Niebuhr's typology. An alternative typology is proposed which addresses these two problems: a richer development of three types that Niebuhr lumps together in his Christ-against-culture type; and the development of a typology to show that there are four different ways to understand what the church has meant by Christ-the-transformer-of-culture.
24. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Glen H. Stassen It Is Time to Take Jesus Back: In Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of H. Richard Niebuhr's "Christ and Culture"
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In The Kingdom of God in America, H. Richard Niebuhr argued that three dimensions are crucial for transformative faith: the sovereignty of God over all; the independence of the living God from captivity to human ideologies or institutions; and a revolutionary strategy with particular normative content from God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ. Without the historically particular content of the way of Jesus, Christian faith has a vacuum only too eagerly filled by alien ideologies. Hence Niebuhr begins Christ and Culture with a historically particular and concrete understanding of the way of Jesus Christ, and evaluates the five types with this three-dimensional standard. The puzzle is that the farther the book goes, the thinner Jesus becomes, until the concluding chapter backs off from evaluation. Niebuhr moved back to his more Christocentric ethics before he died, and thus recovered his prophetic edge. To learn from Niebuhr's history and teach a transformative faith not accommodated to ideologies of injustice, ethics needs to recover a thicker Jesus. Helpful resources are emerging from which Christian ethicists can draw rich help: the third quest of the historical Jesus, new exegetical and canonical approaches, the new emphasis on normative practices, historically situated narrative ethics, and some models by Christian ethicists, all of which point to a thicker, richer, historically particular way of Jesus in the prophetic tradition of Israel.
25. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Theodore J. Koontz, Michael L. Westmoreland-White A Just Peacemaking Bibliography
26. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Martin L. Cook Just Peacemaking: Challenges of Humanitarian Intervention
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Just peacemaking proposes that it is a creative "third way" between just war and pacifism for Christian engagement with international affairs. It claims that its proposals result from the convergence of a number of important characteristics of the contemporary international scene that cumulatively make this a "kairos" for novel and creative modes of reflection and action. Further, it claims to offer workable and realistic counsel for action in the contemporary world of international relations. This paper critically assesses both claims. It reviews various interpretations of the direction of contemporary international affairs and raises some cautions about too enthusiastic an embrace of just peacemaking's vision of cooperative internationalism. It then focuses specifically on situations that invite intervention in the name of humanitarian concerns. There, the author finds some elements of just peacemaking to be an important supplement to the capabilities of military forces to intervene effectively and to transition successfully to nation-building activities that are necessary if intervention is to have a lasting positive effect.
27. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Contributors
28. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Ronald H. Stone Realist Criticism of Just Peacemaking Theory
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Many of the ten practices to abolish war of just peacemaking theory can be appropriated by classical realist thinkers to illumine possibilities of more peace for the post-cold war situation. The optimism of just peacemaking theory about abolishing war, however, does not need to be appropriated. Realist participation in the just peacemaking project can proceed but only with reservations about what seems to be a mixture of optimism and Kantian idealism about the future peacefulness of a capitalist world, and the illusion that war will disappear from the world. Realism, grounded more in the prophets than the just peacemaking project and more in the prophets' moral critique than in Thucydides' cynicism, provides a stronger foundation for policy advice than the Sermon on the Mount which did not focus on international relations. The striking lack of attention by Jesus to questions of the management of the Roman Empire and the ethics of war and peace permits Christians to consult books of the Bible where international relations and foreign policy are prominent for moral wisdom on the subject.
29. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Glen H. Stassen The Unity, Realism, and Obligatoriness of Just Peacemaking Theory
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Just peacemaking theory is a new paradigm for Christian ethics alongside just war theory and pacifism. It answers a different question than just war theory and pacifism seek to answer: not the question of justification, but prevention. The ethical norms of just peacemaking are not ideals or principles, but realistic, historically situated practices that are empirically demonstrating their effectiveness in preventing war. They are interactive, community practices that inherently engage in dialogue with diverse others, as befits a postmodern or pluralistic age. By no means does just peacemaking theory predict that there will be no more wars, or that the state is withering away, but it focuses on realistic, empirical evidence that ten historically effective practices are in fact preventing wars, and therefore, they have similar obligatoriness as do the principles of just war theory and pacifism.
30. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Julie Hanlon Rubio Three-in-One Flesh: A Christian Reappraisal of Divorce in Light of Recent Studies
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The author argues that Christian theologians must consider the suffering of children in their moral evaluation of divorce. A review of recent social science literature shows the negative consequences of divorce, especially in low-conflict cases, and suggests the need to return to the tradition for retrieval of theologies of marriage that include children. In St. John Chrysostom, the author finds a three-in-one flesh metaphor that she claims is a more adequate description of marriage with children as lived reality. With the addition of parallel material from Vatican II and John Paul II, the author argues, it is possible to construct a new theology of marriage that moves beyond relationship to include commitments to spouses, children, and society.
31. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Simeon O. Ilesanmi So that Peace May Reign: A Study of Just Peacemaking Experiments in Africa
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Post-colonial Africa's political stability, economic growth, and human development have been impeded by a vicious circle of ethnic rivalry and civil wars. This article examines the various attempts in Africa to move beyond the traditional lens of pacifism and just war theory in curtailing the deleterious effects of war. These attempts, which are also consistent with the theoretical proposal of just peacemaking, have had mixed results on the continent. The article focuses on Liberia and Rwanda to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of just peacemaking theory, and concludes with a few suggestions on how its vision might be better pursued in Africa.
32. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Lisa Sowle Cahill Just Peacemaking: Theory, Practice, and Prospects
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The just peacemaking project is a commendable effort to derive proactive initiatives from the teachings of Jesus and a strong sense of Christian discipleship, and to make these effective in volatile political situations. The project could be strengthened by a more explicit doctrine of sin, and an ethical justification of coercion. Recent debates among political scientists about effective social action in the era of globalization can also offer insights to enhance the political plausibility of the just peacemaking theory.
33. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Cynthia S. W. Crysdale Playing God?: Moral Agency in an Emergent World
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Arguments against intervening in nature's ways have been used against many new technologies in the last century. Many of these arguments have employed the metaphor of "playing God." In this essay I briefly review the use of the term "playing God" in recent decades. I then examine the cosmology that lies implicit in this language. My thesis is that the language of "playing God" (or not) overlooks the dynamic, evolutionary nature of world process—the role played by the indeterminacy of statistical probabilities. I review the notion of "emergent probability" (Lonergan) in order, in the end, to advocate an ethic of risk that both recognizes the dangers of hubris and includes an open and emergent view of creation.
34. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
E. Harold Breitenberg, Jr. To Tell the Truth: Will the Real Public Theology Please Stand Up?
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Public theology has been praised for being in keeping with the best of the Christian theological tradition and denounced as a distortion of the church's true calling. However, it is not clear that public theology's advocates and critics always refer to the same thing. In this paper I seek to clarify and refine the conversation by comparing and contrasting descriptions of public theology with other related terms, describing three main types of public theology literature and two main areas of concern they address, proposing a definition of public theology based on a consensus within the field, outlining four basic critiques, and suggesting some implications for the continuing discussion of public theology.
35. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Joel James Shuman Ethics, Liberalism, and the Law: Toward a Christian Consideration of the Morality of Civil Law in Liberal Policies
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This paper compares the accounts of agency, morality, and law presumed by liberal political theory to the account offered by Thomas Aquinas. In Aquinas, law is among the several "principles of human acts" and is presumed always to have a constructive effect on the moral formation of those living under its aegis. One of its purposes, in other words, is to make women and men good. The liberal account, on the other hand, is relatively less attentive to the constructive effects of law. This difference raises a question concerning the viability of the liberal assumption of a distinction between a morally neutral public law (based in reason) and a private morality (based in personal belief).
36. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Dov Nelkin "A Threefold Cord Is Not Quickly Broken": Virtue, Law, and Ethics in the Talmud
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Jewish ethics has more in common with the burgeoning field of virtue ethics than generally has been acknowledged within the discourse of contemporary religious ethics. This paper describes the virtue ethics present in the Talmud and other rabbinic texts. Missing from many of the arguments in support of virtue ethics is space for other approaches to ethics, including act-evaluation and the codification of at least some ethical decisions into (moral) law. The approach to virtue ethics found in the Talmud overcomes this dichotomy. Therefore, it is advantageous to bring these Talmudic texts concerned with character and virtue into dialogue with contemporary virtue ethics.
37. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Contributors
38. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Janet R. Nelson Bioethics and the Marginalization of Mental Illness
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This paper explores why ethical issues associated with mental illness have been generally neglected in the literature and texts of the discipline of bioethics. I argue that the reasons for this are both philosophical and structural, involving the philosophical framework of principlism in bioethics, in particular the privileging of the principle of autonomy, and the institutional location and disciplinary boundaries of bioethics as a profession. Other contributing factors include developments outside of bioethics, in medicine and law and in the delivery patterns and funding sources of mental health services, and above all the pervasive stigma that attaches to mental illness. My goal is to show both how the attention bioethics could bring would benefit this neglected area of health care, and why attending to the issues surrounding mental illness would benefit bioethics in meeting its professional obligations as the public voice on matters of ethical significance in health care.
39. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Christine Gudorf, Paul Lauritzen Preface
40. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
William F. May The Shift in Political Anxieties in the West: From "The Russians Are Coming" to "The Coming Anarchy"
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Partly diagnostic, this essay explores the religious background to the shift in the dominant political anxieties of our time: from injustice (or tyranny) to anarchy. The primordial elements of water, fire, earth, and air supply us with powerful images for the dissolution of institutional forms and structures into chaos. In its response to the threat of chaos, the United States runs the danger currently of shifting in its sense of itself: from leading citizen among the nations to imperial power ruling over all nations. On the domestic scene, the country also shows signs of reconfiguring its life after the pattern of imperial Rome. While both order and justice are fundamental social goods—neither of which can be ignored—the essay argues, in closing, for the priority of justice in God's charitable ordering of all things. This article was the Presidential Address at the 2003 SCE annual meeting in Pittsburgh.