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Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All Paperback – January 1, 1999
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The Amazon Book Review
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... magnificent... -- Witness, March 2000
... magnificent... I hope... many... will embark on this journey for if they do they will gain something of enormous significance. -- Esther de Waal, Author of Living with Contradiction
... rich, comprehensible... serious theological work in very accessible language. I read, reread it with pleasure, pen in hand." -- OPEN, Donald Schell, St. Gregory Nyssen Church San Francisco, CA, 10/07/1999
...helpful for all... to consider the meanings of priesthood... to reexamine and renew their ministry. -- Anglican Theological Review, July 2000
Bill Countryman cuts through our malaise without being simplistic or obscure, grounding his vision in the larger priesthood of humanity. -- Frederick W. Schmidt, Canon Educator, Washington National Cathedral, and author of A Still Small Voice
Thought-provoking and challenging... -- Anglican World, 07/30/1999
What a blessing ... extraordinary... I wish every self-identified 'person of faith' could read this remarkable, thought-provoking book. -- Bruce Bawer, author of Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity
From the Back Cover
There is a lot of tension in churches today about whose ministry is primary-that of the laity or of the clergy. L. William Countryman argues that we can only resolve that problem by seeing that we are all priests simply by virtue of being human and living, as we all do, on the mysterious and uncertain border with the Holy. Living on the Border of the Holy offers a way of understanding the priesthood of the whole people of God and the priesthood of the ordained in complementary ways by showing how both are rooted in the fundamental priestly nature of human life. After an exploration of the ministry of both laity and ordained, Countryman concludes by examining the implications of this view of priesthood for churches and for educating those studying for ordination.
"What a blessing to have at hand William Countryman's book, which, by disentangling ordination from real ministry, does an extraordinary job of clarifying what we mean when we speak of the church, of religion, and of God. I wish every self-identified 'person of faith' could read this remarkable, thought-provoking book." -Bruce Bawer, author of Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity
Top Customer Reviews
My spiritual director asked me, "What does ordination mean, and how would it enhance your ministry?" I read this book and can answer the question now! No other resource is as clear cut.
This book is written by an Episcopal Priest, and while it is oriented toward Episcopalians, it can just as easily apply to people of other parts of Christianity. All people aspiring toward ordained ministry should be required to read this! (...as well as those discerning their commitment to lay ministy in the church.)
A threefold distinction between the fundamental priesthood of humanity, the priesthood of religion, and the priesthood of all baptized Christians underlies the book. The priesthood of humanity pertains to the capacity of persons to introduce each other to the "hidden things" and the "secrets" that give life its rich and mysterious meaning (p. 3).Read more ›
This book strips away many preconceptions regarding ordained ministry and invites its readers into a dialogue concerning the nature of priesthood, vocation and calling. It would make (and has made) a wonderful basis for a study group, and should be required reading for anyone even nibbling away on the idea of ordained ministry. A deeply thought-provoking, valuable, and insightful spiritual resource.
Bill Countryman's book, `Living on the Border of the Holy' carries the subtitle `Renewing the Priesthood of All'. There has been movement afoot in many religions and denominations to 'spread the wealth' as it were, to make clergy-types somewhat less of a hierarch and recognise that all are children of God and thus much more equal than they are ever meant to be set apart.
As a priest I concur -- I will fail in my duties if I do not at all times and in all places strive to give the greatest access to all aspects of worship to all people. To this end, the more I reserve things to myself (only a priest can do that!) the more I disturb the purpose of worship, the more I set myself above my fellow children of God, and the more I slip away from the divine.
Bill Countryman, whom I have met on several occasions, is himself an Episcopal priest, and in this book is committed to the idea that churches everywhere need to reclaim as much more than the latest evangelistic slogan or church-growth tactic the priesthood of all believers. We are all in this together! We all come from the same source, and ultimately have the same hopes. And, if Jesus himself didn't set himself above, why should we, as his servants, and thus the servants of the servant, and servants thus of all.
`In his ministry, Jesus stood not above, but alongside those who came to him. In him, they found a person who was truly one of them, even though far more at home in the border country. He introduced them to the Holy as to Health, to Hope, to Good News, to Love.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is recommended for Anglican and other lay leaders who are studying the EFM (Education for Ministry) syllabus in New Zealand. Read morePublished 11 months ago by RDP(NZ)
A most enlightening book written by a very astute author. He really delves into the deep channels of the priesthood. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Marilyn J Payne
We used this book in a small group Bible Study/Discussion group... It sparked good discussions and I recommend the book to anyone interested in aids to living the... Read morePublished on June 21, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Great book for group study. He posits some interesting perspectives on how we live in the world between secular and Christian ministry implementation. Read morePublished on June 12, 2014 by Elizabeth Barker
Bear with the first section. I know it seems like Countryman is repeating and rephrasing a lot of the same idea, but this is a beautiful work that invites you to contemplate and... Read morePublished on May 29, 2014 by Amazon Customer
A number of the other reviewers have given good summaries of Countryman's main points. I'll just add my voice to those who suggest that this book is an excellent choice for... Read morePublished on April 26, 2014 by John R. Deuel
Read as part of Education for Ministry Year four. Provides the reader one part of of the process in developing a personal theology.Published on April 19, 2014 by Bob Anderson
If ever a church member has been in, seen or heard of conflict between the ordained and the lay of the church this is an excellent read for it explains that all persons--NOT JUST... Read morePublished on April 19, 2014 by Amazon Customer