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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Sunday, March 30, 2003


Seminary and the blogiverse, I mean. The first assignment due in Trevor's Ethics class is to write a short review of one of the books listed in the syllabus (plenty to choose from in that lengthy tome!). The book I'm reading is Christian Ethics in Secular Worlds, by Robin Gill. The first section, "New Dimensions in Christian Ethics," spends a lot of time discussing, guess what? Yep-- our old friend, community. Here's some exerpts, as food for thought:

First, Gill offers Robert Bellah's general definition of community: "A group of people who are socially interdependentent, who participate together in discussion and decision-making, and who share certain practices that both define the community and are nurtured by it. Such a community is not quickly formed. It almost always has a history and so is also a community of memory, defined in part by its past and its memory of its past."

To address the gap we all see between ideal community (in Christian terms, koinonia) and the faulty reality, Gill posits that "an important distinction must be made. Christian communities are harbingers rather than exemplars of Christian values. Of course, they can at times be exemplars of Christian values, but too often they are sinful and/or socially constrained. the media in a pluralist society are particularly adept at pointing to the way Christian communities do not in fact live up to their own professed values. And it is perhaps vital that the media do so. Christian communities may need to be reminded that they are harbingers of values which they frequently flaunt, misunderstand, or just fail to notice. Yet their Scriptures, lections, liturgies, hymns, and accumulated sources of long-refined wisdom continue to carry those values despite their manifest frailties. Worshipping communities act as such moral harbingers, whether they realise this or not. Indeed, the very moral judgements so frequently offered by the media of Christian communities may act as an important reminder that Christian values are already scattered in society at large."

I'll stop there for now. Any comments?


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