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Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life) Paperback – June 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: The Christian Practice of Everyday Life
  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587431920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587431920
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest volume in the Christian Practice of Everyday Life Series (What About Hitler? etc.) explores the tension between Christian ethical imperatives and the anxieties of the post-9/11 world. Bader-Saye, who is an associate professor of theology and religious studies at the University of Scranton, is primarily concerned with the impact that these anxieties are having on the practices of hospitality, peacemaking and generosity. Acknowledging that many of our fears are well grounded, he believes that the best way Christians can reclaim their ethical heritage is by pooling their risk at the local level. He cites Taizé, the ecumenical French monastery, as an example of how pooled risk can counteract typical 21st-century fears and calls the practice of hospitality a "parable of courage in community." Anxiety and despair can also be opposed, he believes, through reclamation of God as providential parent. He writes, "Providence, at its heart, has to do with the conviction that our lives and our world constitute a coherent story, a drama, in which God and humankind, together, drive the story toward its proper conclusion." While some Christian groups may feel a certain obviousness to what he has to say, many, especially the mainline denominations, can learn much from this cogently argued and elegantly written volume. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear is part of The Christian Practice of Everyday Life series, dedicated to theological consideration of the concerns of everyday life. Series editors are David S. Cunningham and William T. Cavanaugh.

"Bader-Saye has written a timely and provocative book concerning Christian resources of faith in a culture besot by fear. He draws upon compelling contemporary cases of such courageous action but shows, with equally compelling articulation, how such courage finally is deeply rooted in God's providence. His book is a bold theological exposition that has immediate and rich pastoral derivatives, all in the interest of an intentional church community acting congruently with its confession of faith."
--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Could it be that an account of providence is the key if we are to escape the fear that possesses Americans? That is exactly what Bader-Saye argues. He does so by providing an account of providence that does not promise safety but rather something far more important, that is, a way to go on with courage when we are not always able to 'make sense' of what has happened. His ability to help us 'see' our world through film and literature is itself a display of theological intelligence as rare as it is necessary."
--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

"Scott Bader-Saye offers us Christian practical wisdom we desperately need. Through insightful examples as well as rich biblical and theological analysis, he beautifully seduces us to trust God and to risk hospitality, peacemaking, and generosity. This is a profoundly hopeful, and hope-filled, book."
--L. Gregory Jones, author of Embodying Forgiveness

"What a marvelously lucid, engaging, and convincing book. Scott Bader-Saye singles out fear as the defining and largely self-imposed burden of our world. He diagnoses it with the aid of the great theologians and illustrates it from popular, personal, and political contexts. Not content with diagnosis, he offers a cure--cogent, compassionate, and Christian. This is an author who thinks with the practical wisdom of Aquinas and writes with an infectious zest. Here is a fresh voice to challenge and transform the anxieties of church and world."
--Sam Wells, author of God's Companions and Improvisation

More About the Author

Scott Bader-Saye was born in Atlanta, GA and received degrees from Davidson College (A.B.), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.) and Duke University (Ph.D.). He taught for twelve years in the Theology/Religious Studies Department at the University of Scranton before taking a position in 2009 as Professor of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest, an Episcopal Seminary in Austin, TX. His academic interests include theology and culture, social ethics, political theology, emerging church, and Jewish-Christian dialogue. His publications include Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear, Church and Israel After Christendom: The Politics of Election, contributions to The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics and The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels, as well as articles in journals such as The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Modern Theology, Studies in Christian Ethics, Pro Ecclesia, Cross Currents, and Christian Century.

Customer Reviews

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Carr on June 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
In many ways the Church reflects the culture wherein it resides. For example, much of what passes for Evangelical Christianity in the United States today, is often a reflection of conservative political leanings and not a true following of Jesus. Nowhere is this enculturation more evident than in the way the Church has become ensnared by the culture of fear foisted upon us by the media and politicians.

Scott Bader-Saye explains how fear has so gripped the Church that we no longer feel safe practicing three important virtures; hospitality, peacemaking and generosity. He shows how trusting in providence (defined correctly as God's provision and redemption - that which ultimately gives our lives meaning and purpose) and being in a community where we can speak honestly about our fears, we can become the witness to God's love and care that we are intended to be.

I know of no book more relevant for the life of the Church today.
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Bader-Saye's Christian account of providence as contained in this book is important, and I think timely, for today's world. The title is apt, and the themes treated within are theologically compelling and helpful. This book is a needed tool for any person seeking to understand more fully what it means to follow Jesus in a fear-driven world.

I have given this book four stars for a reason, as I found it a good, but not great read. This book has three important things to offer: (1) an excellent treatment of the doctrine of providence and its importance for today; (2) a presentation of Christian hospitality that, if adhered to, would strengthen the witness of the church; and (3) discussion questions that are helpful at the conclusion of every chapter. This book can equip the individual, yes, but may be of more service to a community of people seeking together the best way to live in our world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. Gordon on October 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a "must read" book. Radical, profound, and very well written. I don't suppose that Jesus coddled the disciples much or promised that there was not hard work ahead. Bader-Saye certainly doesn't leave readers to think this is an easy or comfortable topic, but does convince you that it's one worth exploring in today's world.
Never before have I read a book that so clearly lays out the idea of "you reap what you sow". If you are able to get your head around the challenges Bader-Saye puts forth I believe you are part of the solution in this broken world we live in. If you think he's somehow got it wrong (that hospitality and community are NOT important, that peacemaking and generosity are NOT risks worth taking today) then I will pray for you (and those around you) as you try to navigate this complex world.
I guess time will tell if this book (and Bader-Saye's theological perspective and challenge) is embraced or disparaged. I hope for all our sakes it's the former not the latter.
I strongly suggest reading it with a group of friends, it definitely adds a whole other dimension to the book and to the ongoing discussion it creates.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chad Davies on July 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
In this short but spot-on book, Scott Bader-Saye examines modern and postmodern culture and the prevalence of fear based thinking and media content within it as well as the effect this thread of our cultural fabric (which has become significantly more dominant in the years following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks) has on Christian morals, ethics and, most importantly, practice. By examining our culture's present emphasis in all areas of life on "safety" as being the most important thing we can all agree on (in a sense, our culture's present metanarrative) Bader-Saye discusses three cultural practices that have arisen due ot this emphasis: suspicion, preemption and accumulation.

Following this introduction is what I feel to be the true heart of the book; chapters on what fear is and why it is a natural and healthy response to threat, how fear can be dealt with in an intelligent and Christian manner, the importance of community in dealing with fear and having courage and, finally, a powerful discussion of a meaningful view of the idea of Providence in the context of God's narrative story for humanity. These chapters draw heavily from the writings of the ancient, premodern church. Most important among these are works by Aquinas and Augustine. Lest these references become to ponderous for or distanced from the reader, Bader-Saye also weaves into his discussion numerous examines from today's life including U2, "Security Moms" as a politcal force. the Taize movement and the Star Wars story arc.

From these considerations flow discussions on Christian practice in three broad areas: hospitality, peacemaking and generosity. In each practice the abuse of the idea of Providence to justify behavior that is unchristian in ethic is discussed followed by a more Biblical view.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Seaotter on January 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything in our culture, from T.V. commercials to politicians, the evening news and even their church (Y2K is a good example) is aimed at producing fear in it's listeners. The goal of much of this fear is the profit of the one selling us a product or wanting us to agree to their fear driven political agenda. The horrid truth is that "fear sells." It attracts listeners to the evening news, sells products to protect us from harm, etc. Fear also isolates us from others and stops us from practicing hospitality and generosity. We need to get smart and start to tune out at least some of the bad news and start filling ourselves with the good news of the Scriptures. Not that we should be ignorant as to what is going on in the world, but we were not created to live on a constant dose of fear producing messages. No wonder the Scriptures tell us that in the last days men's hearts will fail them for fear (Luke 21:26).

In Psalm 23 God promises that if we keep our eyes on him, he will make us to lie down in green pastures and lead us beside quite waters. Even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, we will not need to fear any evil for our Savior (deliverer) will be with us. Our all pwerful creator has a table prepared for us to peaceful set down and eat in the presence of our enemies all the while enjoying his company. That's how how I want to live my life. My other favorite Scripture on fear is Psalm 91. I gave the book a four star rating because even though there was much good information in the book, I didn't agree with all the author had to say.
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