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Ethics After Easter (The New Church's Teaching Series, V. 9) [Paperback]

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Item Number 121391  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   193
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.53"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2001
Publisher   Cowley Publications
ISBN  1561011762  
EAN  9781561011766  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
In this volume of The New Church s Teaching Series, Stephen Holmgren introduces us to the world of Anglican ethics and moral theology. He focuses on questions all people of faith must ask: How will I keep my baptismal promises? How am I meant to live after Easter? In developing a distinctively Anglican approach to ethics, with its emphasis on holiness, sanctification, and the need for spiritual disciplines, Holmgren identifies clear axioms for Anglican moral theology and the ethos required for moral decision-making on the part of individuals and church bodies. He explains why ethical reflection is not the same as church governance, and why the institution cannot make its moral theology. Holmgren also discusses the role of conscience and reason, the work of moral discernment, the difference between moral knowledge and saving knowledge, the meaning of natural law, and the high value Anglicans place on consensus. The final chapter provides a methodology for building a moral case in Christian ethics, specifically on Christian involvement with war and violence. As with each book in The New Church s Teaching Series, recommended resources for further reading and questions for discussion are included."

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More About Stephen Holmgren

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Stephen Holmgren is associate professor of ethics and moral theology at Nashota House in Nashota, Wisconsin, where he also works with two area medical ethics committees. He received his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University.

Stephen Holmgren was born in 1956.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Fresh approach to Christianity  Oct 31, 2007
I highly recommend this book. It's a very fresh, diverse, and multicultural approach to Christianity and moral ethics in general. It's very easy reading in lay person's terms.
How should one act?  Jun 15, 2004
The Episcopal church in the twentieth century took advantage of the general availability of publishing to good advantage, compiling through several auspices different collections and teaching series, the latest of which was only completed a few years ago. There have been 'unofficial' collections of teaching texts, such as the Anglican Studies Series by Morehouse press, put out in the 1980s, as well as an earlier teaching series. However, each generation approaches things anew; the New Church Teaching Series, published by Cowley Publications (a company operated as part of the ministry of the Society of St. John the Evangelist - SSJE - one of the religious/monastic communities in the Episcopal church, based in the Boston area) is the most recent series, and in its thirteen volumes, explores in depth and breadth the theology, history, liturgy, ethics, mission and more of the modern Anglican vision in America.

This ninth volume, 'Ethics after Easter' by Stephen Holmgren, looks at the issues of ethics and morality in an Anglican fashion. The first question Holmgren addresses is what are called to do from our Baptimal covenant? How now should we live? There are questions in this of worship, of theology and of spirituality, but Holmgren specifically addresses the question from the standpoint of moral theology - a high-sounding phrase that really focuses upon the basic question of our vision of God, and how God would want us to live.

There is much discernment to be done, by the individual and by the community. Holmgren addresses topics such as social justice, war and peace, sin, love, and other key issues. He sets out various approaches to ethics - do we look at the issue from the standpoint of human civil laws, or from the standpoint of God's desires for us, or both? Drawing from this, there are three ethical approaches - natural law, the historicist view, and the 'positivist' view, the one where we make a choice based on our own and communal discernment. None of these are guaranteed to give a right or wrong answer (indeed, all may lead to the wrong answer!), and rarely are any used in exclusion of the others.

Holmgren looks the issues of sin, love, law, justification, sanctification and many other 'theological' concepts in application to daily life and work, as well as broader planning and communal living and decision-making. At the end of each chapter, Holmgren sets forth axiomatic statements that build a framework (axioms are basic 'truths' widely accepted as being true, relevant and applicable generally). The system of twenty-two axioms are set out in the conclusion/appendix.

Stephen Holmgren is an Episcopal priest in Wisconsin, having also served in Tennessee. He is a professor of ethics and moral theology at Nashota House, one of the Episcopal seminaries in the church. He also is active in the area of medical ethics, and is a regular conference leader and speaker.

Each of the texts is relatively short (only two of the volumes exceed 200 pages), the print and text of each easy to read, designed not for scholars but for the regular church-goer, but not condescending either - the authors operate on the assumption that the readers are genuinely interested in deepening their faith and practice. Each volume concludes with questions for use in discussion group settings, and with annotated lists of further readings recommended.

Oh dear . . .  Dec 30, 2003
I've truly tried to appreciate this book. I really have. I've actually plowed my way through it on two different occasions. But with all due respect to its author, the book is just soooo boring, soooo tedious, and soooo simplistic that it's difficult to work up any enthusiasm for it. This is a shame, because Christian ethics is both an intrinsically exciting field and an excruciatingly important one for those of us who struggle to respond to the world as loyal members of a community of faith.

Perhaps one of the reasons this book is so dissatisfying is that it struggles so hard to play it safe. Author Holmgren provides a very traditional account of moral knowledge derived from reason and from revelation, nods to the very obvious fact that agreement on moral principles doesn't entail agreement about practice, and points out the equally obvious fact that principles are general and moral dilemmas are concrete and situational and that casuistry is the discipline of trying to apply the one to the other. All this is as predictable (and as stimulating) as the Baltimore Catechism. Holmgren only begins to enter into interesting waters when he reflects on the tension between the human desire for the good and human fallenness, but he quickly pulls back by offering the reader a deadly account of the seven deadly vices. Reading his book, one would never suspect that Christian ethics is an incredibly rich, incredibly complex, incredibly diverse, and incredibly rewarding area of investigation that draws on anthropology, psychology, sociology, and philosophy as well as scripture and tradition. There's a certain quaintness to the book that makes it seem as if it written in the mid-nineteenth century before moral theologians such as Rowan Williams, John Macquarrie, Gene Outka or Stanley Hauerwas were born!

I appreciate that the volumes in the New Church's Teaching Series, of which Holmgren's book is one, are intended as popular introductions to lay Anglicans. But the new series, with the notable exception of Margaret Guenther's beautiful book on prayer, tends, like Holmgren's book, to be simplistic, boring, and patronising. My guess is that they are bought and read by Anglicans more out of a sense of duty than joyful eagerness. That's a genuine pity, because the Anglican spiritual, theological, and moral tradition is a beautiful and insightful one. How in the world can the Episcopal Church hope to excite its members about their faith when it feeds them such pablum?!


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