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A Precarious Peace: Yoderian Explorations on Theology, Knowledge, And Identity (Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies) [Paperback]

By Chris K. Huebner (Author)
Our Price $ 12.74  
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Item Number 132830  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   249
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.34" Height: 0.61"
Weight:   0.92 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 17, 2006
Publisher   Herald Press
ISBN  0836193415  
EAN  9780836193411  


Availability  2 units.
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Item Description...
Overview
A Precarious Peace poses a formidable challenge to mainstream accounts of Christian pacifism. In place of an approach which seeks effectively to implement and distribute a peace whose content is known in advance, Chris K. Huebner develops a radical understanding of peace that interrupts and puts into question many of our most deeply held convictions, including much of what is offered in the name of peace. This book presents an interpretation of Christian pacifism that turns upon the call to live out of control. Key conversation partners include Rowan Williams, John Milbank, Karl Barth, two Mennonite grandmothers, Canadian cinematographers, radical reformation, and most of all John Howard Yoder.

Publishers Description
Chris K. Huebner poses a formidable challenge to mainstream accounts of Christian pacifism. In place of an approach which seeks effectively to implement and distribute a peace whose content is known in advance, Huebner develops a radical understanding of peace that interrupts and puts into question many of our most deeply held convictions, including much of what is offered in the name of peace.

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More About Chris K. Huebner

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Huebner is a PhD candidate in theological ethics at Duke University.

Chris K. Huebner currently resides in Winnipeg. Chris K. Huebner was born in 1969.

Chris K. Huebner has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies


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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > War & Peace   [897  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy   [1924  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Protestant   [815  similar products]



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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great Essays From a Brilliant Young Mennonite  Feb 20, 2008
Huebner kicks off Polyglossia, a series from Herald press that he is co-editing, with his own book, A Precarious Peace, a timely book full of brilliant insights, which though it is often repetitive and overlapping, is nevertheless entirely enjoyable for it's variations on the theme of Christ's gift of peace. An imitation of Yoder's style right from the start, the book consists of essays written on assignment, some for graduate seminars at Duke (Hauerwas was his advisor), some for various ecumenical conferences, and some while on staff at CMU. Through and through this book is an attempt at decentering the Constantinian impulses towards totalization, security, and stability that plague so much of western theology. Huebner uses his position as a Mennonite as a vantage point from which to problematize established notions in theology, knowledge, and identity, all the while turning the interruptive message of the gospel against any static forms that the Mennonite community may be tempted to take. It is this that gives Huebner's book such credibility: a willingness to take seriously the way that the peace of Christ is disruptive to totality and finality. Ironically, the felt need to resist the conquering tone of colonial theology has tempted us "to invent new, less controversial and more sanitized, less threatening and more humanized images of theology, images like creative expression and human longing....Put bluntly, these more humanized images leave theology stripped of the ability to articulate how it is not at home in the world. They leave the theologian without the means to express the sense in which she is untimely and out of place, and so abandon her to identification with the vast empires and provincial colonies that define the world" (18). Huebner's project, then, is to search for new ways of exploring which foster genuine dialogue and engagements others based not on fear which seeks security, but on love which is willing to risk vulnerability.

Put simply, Huebner is after what John Yoder calls a "methodological non-constantinianism." Much of pacifism ultimately undermines itself in its defense, since its apologetics are inherently violent. In seeking to batten down an airtight argument for why everyone must be non-violent, pacifism often embodies a violence in the way it engages other discourses, seeking total control and security from threats. This finds an acute expression in the occassional nature of theology for Yoder and Huebner. As it was for Yoder, Huebner's embracing of an occassionalism is no accident, but a purposeful strategy for attempting the totalizing discourses of systematic theology. But "the peace of Christ does not seek to make itself more secure and stable. It is radically unstable precisely because it exists as gift. Not only does it recognize that there are no final guarantees for the securing of peace, it understands that the pursuit of such guarantees is just another form of violence" In attempting to articulate a peace that exists as a gift, Huebner's position on the non-givenness of the gospel rings an ultimately Barthian tune: a peace that is not an inherently necessary feature for the structures of the world is ultimately one that interrupts the world, and thus also the church insofar as she attempts to warp this self-giving peace into a possession.

Although there is a great deal of overlap, the book is divided into three sections - "Disestablishing Mennonite Theology," "Disowning Knowledge," and "Dislocating Identity," and ending with a sermon that nicely serves to summarize the major insights of the book, and to say of it "that'll preach!" Essays from each section stand out above the rest as particularly poignant. In the first, "Radical Orthodoxy, Radical Reformation," offers a very suggestive dialog with John Milbank, in which much of the groundwork for the whole book is laid painting peace in Milbank's language as a gratuitous gift. In sharing the values of dispossession, the giftedness of existence, and the renunciation of mastery, Huebner makes a good cast that "in a sense, a radical reformation stance turns out to display just the kind of radicalism called for by Radical Orthodoxy - sometimes more consistently than the defenders of Radical Orthodoxy themselves" (47-48). In the second, "Globalization, Theory, and Dialogical Vulnerability" explores how Yoder's "patience as method" makes possible the notion of a pacifist epistemology, in which the interruptive character of the peace of Christ always subverts attempts to normalize it into a single, privileged discourse which would rein over other models of inquiry. And finally, in the last section, the notion of a diasporic identity finds it's supreme model in the trust of the martyr in "Between Victory and Victimhood." Here, to say that life is a gift is to say that we must not attempt to secure and defend it, and this means living out of control. In other words, for us to really mean it when we say Jesus is Lord, we have to systematically renounce our Lordship over ourselves, embracing all the risk that would come along with that.

In the end, this book is really just a dogged attempt to imagine what our theology, ecumenical dialogs,, anthropology, and anything else might look like if we took seriously the giftedness of the gospel. The post-modern commonplaces of giving place to the other, de-centering the self, and problematizing static forms are actually given teeth in cruciform fashion as a specific group of people is called to question itself in light of this gift, and to repent where they have attempted to domesticate it.

Huebner is at his best in engaging constructively with voices outside of his tradition, such as Milbank, Barth, Rowan Williams, and, conversely, critically challenging allies who are often treated as unquestionable, such as Alasdair MacIntyre. He is also surprisingly adept in weaving in philosophy and cultural theory, as is demonstrated in his engagements with Paul Virilio and Atom Egoyan. All this is to say, though, that he is at his best when he is acting like John Yoder, something he makes no apologies about doing. It warms my heart that such a fine interpreter of Yoder's work is going further, continuing on with the project of witnessing to the world and the church at large with a message of Christ's peace that refuses to "command and conquer" but persistently engages what is outside of itself. For anyone else interested in that project, this book is essential reading.
 

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