Celebrated Theologian Offers Wisdom for Civic Engagement
Christian citizens have a responsibility to make political and ethical judgments in light of their faith and to participate in the public lives of their communities--from their local neighborhoods to the national scene. But even in countries where Christians are free to engage in public life, it can be difficult to discern who to vote for, which policies to support, and how to respond to the social and cultural trends of our time.
In this nonpartisan handbook, world-renowned theologian Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz explain that Christians need to develop habits of wise reflection if they are to engage faithfully with their political communities. To do so, they need to identify the key commitments of their faith that connect with contemporary public issues, understand the roots of those commitments, and learn what sorts of questions to ask when applying those values to the concrete realities of their contexts.
Following Volf's successful A Public Faith, this book offers Christians practical guidance for thinking through complicated public issues and faithfully following Jesus as citizens of their countries. Public Faith in Action focuses on enduring Christian commitments that should guide readers in their judgments--not only for the next election, but beyond--and encourages legitimate debate among Christians over how to live out core values. The book also includes lists of resources for further reflection in each chapter and "room for debate" questions to consider.
Part 1: Commitments
1. Christ the Center and Norm
2. Christ, the Spirit, and Flourishing
3. Reading in Contexts
Part 2: Convictions
5. The Environment
7. Work and Rest
9. Borrowing and Lending
10. Marriage and Family
11. New Life
12. Health and Sickness
13. Aging Life
14. Ending Life
20. Freedom of Religion (and Irreligion)
Part 3: Character
"A concise, readable, theologically informed guide for Christian political engagement, this book deftly integrates relevant biblical principles and contemporary data, summarizes the key issues at stake, and points to important additional reading. An excellent contribution to the rapidly growing body of work on how Christians can engage politics in a faithful way."
Ron Sider, president emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action
"The question isn't whether you'll live out a public faith but how. In this wise, measured, and refreshingly concrete discussion, Volf and McAnnally-Linz encourage Christians to be active, thoughtful contributors to the 'life together' that is society. The book is unapologetically convicted, but it makes room for the global realities that demand different responses and creates space for Christians to come to different prudential conclusions. Here is an antidote to polarization."
James K. A. Smith, Calvin College; author of You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit; editor of Comment magazine
"Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz's volume achieves its aims: opening up a series of serious questions that are a matter of public debate in a pluralistic society, while exhorting Christians to responsibly explore the answers through the lens of faith."
Stephanie Summers, CEO, Center for Public Justice
"The world needs our active Christian faith more now, perhaps, than ever. Public Faith in Action provides a deeply thoughtful model for how we as Christians might work out our faith for the glory of God and the flourishing of communities and people. One needn't agree with every application here in order to be instructed, challenged, and inspired by this call to commitment, conviction, and character as we strive to serve a suffering world faithfully and well."
Karen Swallow Prior, author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More--Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist