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Life Abundant (Searching for a New Framework) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   251
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.57" Width: 5.44" Height: 0.61"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2000
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800632699  
EAN  9780800632694  


Availability  0 units.


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Item Description...
Overview
In this splendidly crafted work, McFague argues for theology as an ethical imperative for all thinking Christians: Responsible discipleship today entails disciplined religious reflection. Moreover, theology matters: Without serious reflection on their worldview, ultimate commitments, and lifestyle, North American Christians cannot hope to contribute to ensuring the "good life" for people or the planet. To live differently we must think differently. McFague has therefore written this primer in theology. It helps Christians assess their own religious story in light of the larger Christian tradition and the felt needs of the planet. At once an apology for an ecologically driven theology and a model for how theology itself might be expressed, her work is expressly crafted to bring people into the practice of religious reflection as a form of responsible Christian practice in the world. McFague shows the reader how articulating one's personal religious story and credo can lead directly into contextual analysis, unfolding of theological concepts, and forms of Christian practice. In lucid prose she offers creative discussions of revelation, the reigning economic worldview (and its ecological alternative), and how a planetary theology might approach classical areas of God and the world, Christ and salvation, and life in the Spirit. Enticing readers into serious self-assessment and creative commitment, McFague's new work encourages and models a theological practice that "gives glory to God by loving the world."

Publishers Description
A compelling vision-before it's too lateIn this splendidly crafted work, McFague argues for theology as an ethical imperative for all thinking Christians: Responsible discipleship today entails disciplined religious reflection. Moreover, theology matters: Without serious reflection on their worldview, ultimate commitments, and lifestyle, North American Christians cannot hope to contribute to ensuring the "good life" for people or the planet. To live differently we must think differently. McFague's has therefore written primer in theology. It helps Christians assess their own religious story in light of the larger Christian tradition and the felt needs of the planet. At once an apology for an ecologically driven theology and a model for how theology itself might be expressed, her work is expressly crafted to bring people into the practice of religious reflection as a form of responsible Christian practice in the world. McFague shows the reader how articulating one's personal religious story and credo can lead directly into contextual analysis, unfolding of theological concepts, and forms of Christian practice.In lucid prose she offers creative discussions of revelation, the reigning economic worldview (and its ecological alternative), and how a planetary theology might approach classical areas of God and the world, Christ and salvation, and life in the Spirit. Enticing readers into serious self-assessment and creative commitment, McFague's new work encourages and models a theological practice that "gives glory to God by loving the world."

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More About Sallie McFague

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Sallie McFague has been the Carpenter Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where she taught for thirty years. She is now distinguished theologian in residence at the Vancouver School of Theology in Vancouver, British Columbia. Among her many influential works, all from Fortress Press, are: Blessed are the Consumers (2013); Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril (2000); Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature (1997); The Body of God: An Ecological Theology (1993); Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age (1987), which received the American Academy of Religion's Award for Excellence; and Metaphorical Theology: Models of God in Religious Language (1982).

Sallie McFague currently resides in Nashville. Sallie McFague has an academic affiliation as follows - Vancouver School of Theology.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Treasure Trove of Economic Fallacies  Mar 29, 2005
This book is a delight to read, if only because McFague manages to compress so much economic illiteracy into a single book. Zero-sum game fallacy, the confusion between matter and resources, dependency theory, the idea that the market economy destroys the environment, the identification of a market economy with consumerism. They're all here in abundance! I would give the book one star simply because it displays such ignorance about a subject it claims to analyze. But some credit must be given to McFague for packing so many mistakes into so small a space, and for lacking any sense of irony for enjoying a cushy high level academic salary while disdaining all those consumer-driven lumpen proletariats who get by on half her salary.
 
Embrace and love the world you live in... thus, embrace God.  Aug 8, 2002
Avant-garde theologian, reformative and unorthodox Christian, Sallie McFague, in 'Life Abundant', sets forth a radical, earthbound, theology that is as provocative as it is over sanguine.

Her 'hope against hope' prophetic cry to all North Americans is to 'love and protect the world' and thus love God. Forsake your 'hell bent' consuming way and share the world's resources equally. Be liberated from your role as oppressors. While this message is needed and laudable, it will, sadly, go unheard and thus unheeded. For, as Seneca, the Roman philosopher said at the time of Christ, "It is the superfluous things for which men concern themselves".

Dr. McFague is an accomplished professor of Theology (Vanderbilt Divinity School) and, as such, she challenges you to reconsider your life philosophy, your spiritual theology and your consumer mentality. Dr. McFague wants you not to read her book as much as to engage, challenge and argue with her via the book. In the end, she hopes you will rethink and develop a 'working theology' that embraces and loves the world we live in.

While the title of the book is affable, and even quaint, this book is not. This is a dense and demanding read; however, a postulation worthy of every thinking person's effort. I am going to attempt the absurd. I am going to attempt to distill the erudite writings of Dr. McFague in three phrases. In "Life Abundant" Sallie McFague has an admonitory outcry for "middle class North American Christians". She calls them to 1) Change their manic consumer lives, and choose to live in harmony with, and care for, all creation. 2) Realize that Christians (as all people) live to give God glory by loving the world and everything in it. 3) Deconstruct their traditional theologies and then reconstruct them in concert with her "Panentheistic" theology.

Be forewarned, any attempt to fully grasp Sally McFague's in a coherent way will be akin to attempting to wrap your arms around a full grown Redwood tree. Her theology is "relatively absolute". She believes that all theologians speak of God metaphorically, and there is no such thing as a complete theology, rather there are only piecemeal theologies, and no creditable theologian makes empirical statements about who God is. Thus, the reading of her explanation of her belief system is akin to listening to Dennis Hopper disjointedly saying in 'Apocalypse Now' that he found "the one" (referring to Marlin Brando). Heavy man, heavy.

Her theology is Christian Panentheism - Pan'en'theism. God is immanent, incarnated in the world through nature. Thus she sees the world as 'in' ('en') God and that God is 'with' the world. God is with us here and now in all living beings. "The world", for Sallie "is where God dwells, it is God's 'house'". And, for her, the "divine incarnation" is not limited to Jesus, but God is incarnate in the world and each creature is "a microcosm of divine incarnation".

For McFague God is Reality. She states; "when we say that God is reality we mean that reality is both with us and beyond us, both eminent and transcendent, both physical and spiritual". God is "the source, the sustainer, and the goal of everything that is."

Her theology is a 'working theology' and she believe that we must act - now and decisively. She condemns the consumptive, consumer life style of North Americans. Her evolved theology is no longer the self-centered tribal, traditional anthropocentric Christian theology of the masses (salvation for the individual), but is a cosmological theology that affirms that being with nature is being with God and salvation is when you are in God's presence (God is found in relationship with others and nature). For Sallie the deterioration of nature and the injustice to the poor people is caused by the religion of our time - consumerism.

I found that some of her provocative statements raise significant questions. For example, if God so loves the world and is continually engaged, or "radical present", with the world, then where is the evidence of His/Her/Its involvement? Nowhere does Dr. McFague explain where or how God is "radically present". Please, give me examples, Dr. McFague, of where and how God is involved with this world He/She/It loves.

She does not embrace the Christian belief in the popular image of God as a supernatural being and redeemer of human individuals. But rather for Dr. McFague God is - radically transcendent and radically immanent. Her Christology is unconventional and unorthodox. She discards the personally redemptive, sacrificial death of Christ - "Personally, I have never been able to believe it", and replaces it with an 'ecological economic Christology.'

Her chapters on economic models are great reads, but her statement that we, in North America, have "allowed our economic theories (i.e. market capitalism) to tell us who we are"- is disputable. Market capitalism did not make us consuming, self-gratifying individuals, but rather we adopted market capitalism because it is what best benefits who we are.

Also, she beats the drum of 'frugality', asking her readers to restrict significantly their materialistic intake (she admittedly acknowledges that this is not a beat that North Americans are likely to dance to). Thus, her Jeremiah prophetic call to a radical life change, thought desperately needed, will accomplish what it did with Israel - Nada.
Her end notes (30 pages) are a gold mine for all those interested in cross-references, excellent bibliographies, insights and side-bar comments.

In short, though complex, this is a stimulating and thought provoking read. Anyone who believes, as McFague does, that God loves and wants to save the earth, should read this book, agree with her theology, "we are to give God glory by loving the earth" and chorus "Amen, and Amen". Recommended

 
Another mindblower  Dec 13, 2000
Just when I thought Christian theology has nothing more to say, Sallie McFague comes along and not only says something new but encourages her readers to participate in creating and living theology. Her theological credo is to give glory to God by loving the world and all in it. She acknowledges that this is a relative absolute for her as a North American feminist living in the 21st century, something all theologies should be. The book is divided into three parts: I The Practice of Planetary Theology, II The Context of Planetary Theology and III The Content of Planetary Theology. Her ecological liberation theology is opposed to the materialistic consumerism of the North American middle class. If these priviledged few (20% of the world's population) do not lower their impact on the environment and the poorer nations (80%)they won't have a future either. The way to change people's behavior is to alter the mindset (theology and economy). "Life Abundant" even makes sense to me as a white Afrikaans male living in South Africa. We have the unique combination of a First and Third World, rich and poor, in one country. We can see and feel the devastation the rich have on the environment and the poor. This latest work by Sallie McFague helped me make sense of my world and enticed me to develop my own religious autobiography. If you care for theology, God, nature, human beings or Christ, get this book ASAP. It will change your life and hopefully save the world.
 

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