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The Good Life: Genuine Christianity for the Middle Class (Christian Practice of Everyday Life) Paperback – February 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Christian Practice of Everyday Life
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (February 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587430681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587430688
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,436,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Anderson on November 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Politicians target the "middle-class" for their votes. Businesses and entrepreneurs see the "middle-class" as a market niche. The vase majority of churches throughout the US seem to appeal mainly to those in the middle-class component of the population. Some critics of middle class Christians have argued that they essentially prefer the status quo (like their unchurched and non-christian neighbors) and do not have, as a social group, the capacity to make significant contributions, and as a result, some could add meaningful contributions to the mission of the church. The Good Life will move middle-class Christian readers beyond their attachment to the market-share of business and past their complicit relationship to the consumerism mentality within American culture. David McCarthy seeks to help the middle-class to be more than a target of market-economics and political rhetoric. He applies biblical principles to help those in this particular class of people to respond to Jesus' mandate to seek first the kingdom of God. McCarthy argues that middle-class Christians have a misguided attachment to the world. He maintains the Christian life should require less "stuff." This book offers guidance to the middle-class Christian community whose relationships to people, family, home, neighborhoods, work, and even to the earth, are determined more by the market economy than by Christian principles. As American Christians it is difficult to not be caught up in American's cultural, political, and economic benefits. Harder still to not be defined by them or to seek meaning through them. The Good Life will help the reader to live beyond all this and discover ways to "seek the Kingdom of God." I recommend that middle-class churches and their leadership ought to consider McCarthy's book as a guide for mission development, even a framework for a Sunday morning sermon series. Church small groups would benefit from reading it together.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Stander on August 25, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Getting married this summer, The Good Life has been a great book to guide conversations with my wife about what our life and ministry together might look like. I am naturally cynical about much of the contemporary church and despise shallow "how to" spirituality books (which i think "stinki" was looking for in review below) so McCarthy's critical but fair assessments were valuable. McCarthy will likely challenge most Christians at some point...whether it is with their inwardly turned homes versus hospitality, capitualations of faith for patriotism, and the constant immersion in a consumerist economy.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kathy F. Cannata on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderfully written, and sharply packaged by Brazos (Baker). McCarthy is a theo. prof. at a Catholic college in Maryland, probably in his late-30s. He uses everyday anecdotes to expose the struggle middle-class suburban Christians are in, often without knowing it. The book is 27 small chapters broken into 4 categories: People (friendship, marriage, sex and singleness, God and neighbor, etc.), Places (home and hospitality, country and nation, etc.); Things (debts, work); and God (breaking down the elements of the Apostle's Creed).

James K. A. Smith of Calvin College writes in a blurb on the back cover: "How can we resist the empire's demand for our allegiance? This remains a fundamental question for Christain discipleship, and in The Good Life, McCarthy poses it afresh. But now the empire is not Rome but the market, and the arena of challenge is not the colliseum but Wal-Mart. He offers challenging wisdom to those of us in minivans who are trying to discern what God's disruptive grace means for our friendships, our neighborhoods, and our consumer habits."

Another blurb: "Don't let the charm of his style or his mastery of the telling detail mislead you. McCarthy's The Good Life is both a sustained critique of the consumerism that enslaves and a profound account of how God's graciousness can set us free. This is theology at its best. A how to book about something that matters."

My biggest dissapointment with the book -- it does not emphasize strongly enough the centrality of the Church. Chap. 25 on the "One, Holy, Apostolic Church," was very insightful. But any study of Christian ethics needs to communicate clearly to our individualist culture -- the Church is not one means to the end, it IS the end.
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4 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Stinki on October 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I respectfully disagree with the other evaluations of the book, it is a long rant; yes, a tirade. The book is the author's personal reflections on society, that anyone who is schooled in the christian faith can figure out themselves. The title suggests that the reader will find the book to be a resource a place of suggestions to practice christian life, however, that is not what the book is. Each chapter is basically a critical essay, and leaves the reader more dispondent about the direction of the universal christian church and how christian life fits into the larger society. The last chapters refer to eastern religions and yet on the cover it says, "genuine christianity for the m iddle class". Don't waste your money.
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