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Word, Worship, World, and Wonder is a book about the future of the institutional church. Part criticism, part inspiration, it addresses four core questions of Christian living: How do we keep alive the sense of wonder that connects us to the divine? What word(s) need to be spoken by the church, and how are they spoken? What are the requisites for good worship? How are we to be both "in" but not "of" the world? Karen Lebacqz draws on her training in ethics but speaks primarily as a layperson with a love-hate relationship to the church. She challenges readers to reawaken both curiosity and awe, suggesting ways to use the senses to achieve this end.
Focusing on "doing" ethics within the context of the church, Karen Lebacqz asserts that an adequate ecclesiology for this task must be formed around four foci:
- a WORD of judgment and hope, conviction and grace, which must be inclusive, ethical, poetic, and nonverbal as well as verbal;
- WORSHIP that incorporates liturgy as "the work of the people" and sacrament as a "remembering" of the people and an outward sign of God's redeeming presence among us;
- an orientation toward justice in the WORLD a the call of God, with an emphasis on diversity, a transnational self-understanding and a commitment to bring the "good news" to others; and
- WONDER, in the sense of reverence for God, others, self, and nature on the one hand and of curiosity, creativity, and rumination on the other.
Word, Worship, World & Wonder will be a helpful textbook in theology, pastoral formation, ministry, and ethics courses. It also offers the parish clergy a new perspective on the difficult issue of church renewal.d
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