Political Worship: Ethics for Christian Citizens

Hardcover | August 27, 2004

byBernd Wannenwetsch, Margaret Kohl

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How does Christian ethics begin? This pioneering study explores the grammar of the Christian life as it is embodied and learned in worship as the formative experience of the 'fellow citizens of God's people'. The book presents the first in-depth theological investigation of the phenomenon of'political worship' by exposing the political nature of worship and the worship dimension of politics. In a careful analysis of biblical and traditional conceptions of worship, Wannenwetsch demonstrates how the genuine political character of worship neutralizes attempts to politicize or de-politicize it. In the imprinting of the experience of divine reconciliation on the Christian body, worshipchallenges the deepest antagonisms of political theory and practice: antagonisms of 'private and public', 'freedom and necessity', and 'action and contemplation'. At the same time, the 'spill over' of worship into every sphere of life instils a healthy suspicion of post-liberal conceptualizations ofrole-mobility. In the experience of 'hearing in communion', an encounter with a word that does not deceive announces the end of the rule of the hermeneutics of suspicion.Further questions discussed include the conditions of true consensus, forgiveness as a political virtue, `political rhetoric' between accountability and self-justification, how 'reversible role-taking' can avoid losing the otherness of the other, and how the rhetoric of 'responsibility' can be savedfrom hubris or depression. Particular practices or dimensions of worship (confession, preaching, praising, intercession, observance of holy days) are examined and their heuristic and formative potentials explored in relation to these topics. A special feature of the study is a strong ecumenical andinternational focus. The book brings into conversation a variety of traditions (including Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox) and contemporary voices. An original contribution to Christian ethics, the book addresses systematic and practical theology as well as political theory, while indicating the essentialinterpenetration of these disciplines.

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How does Christian ethics begin? This pioneering study explores the grammar of the Christian life as it is embodied and learned in worship as the formative experience of the 'fellow citizens of God's people'. The book presents the first in-depth theological investigation of the phenomenon of'political worship' by exposing the political...

Bernd Wannenwetsch is University Lecturer in Ethics in the Theology Faculty, University of Oxford.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.07 inPublished:August 27, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199253870

ISBN - 13:9780199253876

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Table of Contents

I. Worship as the Beginning of Christian Ethics1. Political Worship: Overcoming the Functional Approach2. Worship as a Form of Life: The Grammar of Christian Life3. Absorptions4. Worship and Ethics: Their Traditional CorrelationII. Worship as the Critical Power of Christian Ethics: Christian Citizens in a Torn and Divided Worldi. Worship as the Praxis of Reconciliation1. The Political Dimension of the Church: Modern and Postmodern2. The Surmounting of Political Antinomies in Worshipii. Worship Identity in (Post)modern Society1. The Total Claim of Society2. The Worshipping Congregation as a True PublicIII. Worship as Formative Power in Christian Ethics1. Hearing in Community: The Political Power of the Word2. Consensus and Forgiveness3. Homiletics as Political Propadeutics4. Life out of Abundance