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Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women's Lives Matter Paperback – January 16, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Traci C. West is Professor of Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. She is the author of Wounds of the Spirit: Black Women, Violence, and Resistance Ethics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (January 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 066422959X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664229597
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This a great book for contemporary students and scholars of Christian ethics seeking to deepen their understanding of faith and ethics. Starting with real people, West makes women, particularly women of color, and sexual violation her entry point into constructing Christian ethics. Her proposal is "disruptive" because she insists that the universal vision of Christian ethics begins precisely here, in the particular experiences of particular people living particular lives. The disruption is felt when the Christian imperative is re-framed in the material conditions and embodied experiences of subjugated persons whose lives are impacted by gender-discrimination, homophobia, and race. Approached this way, Christian ethics avoid sanctuary in the abstract universals of theological claims and rationalizations of human nature and destiny for West. Instead, Christian ethics disturbs widespread Christian complacency about the lives of people living amidst persistent injustices institutionally structured and experienced at the intersections of personal, social, and political life. In response, she lays out a liberative vision of social ethics that struggles to connect Christian social thought to a practical faith that resists abstraction, elevates embodied life and sets sight on transformation in the concrete.

West's disruptive Christian ethics is important. It follows an American tradition of Christian social ethics from Union Theological Seminary, from Reinhold Niebuhr through the John C Bennett, Bev Harrison, and others. West makes her contribution by incorporating feminist and womanist critiques, which lead her to an understanding of Christian social ethics that truly ties the universal claims of Christian thinking to lives lived in the particular realities.
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West does a great job of analyzing ideas in ethics that have been held as true and pushing back against their limitations. She does this in her analysis of Niebuhr, and in an especially creative method, utilizes lived experience to refute and/or expand on his ideas. She does so through feminist analysis that takes seriously the standpoint of real, embodied people rather than disembodied, universal principles. Her commitment is to a liberationist ethic, and she melds both theory and practice in an effective manner for this purpose.
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West is a superior writer on the subject of Ethics in the current intersection of our global probablems, our moral dilemmas, and our intercultural opportunities to make sustainable changes that are just, fair, and right !
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While I do not doubt the intelligence of Traci West, it is evident that she has an apparent agenda while interpreting HER version of Christian ethics and the application of God's Word. The book is riddled with assumptions about "white America" and constantly points to examples of politicians and public policy - from the President all the way to welfare reform... Because a white president said this, or because welfare reforms hurts a black woman in some way, it's automatically wrong. Traci West had the opportunity to disolve the diversity that exists in America, insteads grinds the ax of her forefathers. Very dissapointing from a scholarly standpoint. If you are pro-black, anti-white, you may like this book. If you are white, be prepared to be held accountable for all the sins of your fathers.
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