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The Politics of Discipleship: Becoming Postmaterial Citizens (The Church and Postmodern Culture) Paperback – September 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Graham Ward's The Politics of Discipleship is an extraordinary book. Ward does nothing less than help us see how worldA" and churchA" implicate each other by providing an insightful and learned account of the transformation of democracy, the perversities of globalization, and the ambiguities of secularization. Perhaps even more significant is his theological proposal for the difference the church can make in the world so described.' Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Faithful Political Discipleship in a Post-Everything World

Graham Ward is known for his thoughtful engagement with postmodernism and with contemporary critical theology. Here he provides an engaging account of the inherently political nature of postmodernity and thoughts on what it means to live the Christian faith within that setting. The Politics of Discipleship not only provides an accessible guide to contemporary postmodernism and its wide-ranging implications but also elaborates a discipleship that informs a faith seeking understanding, which Ward describes as "the substance of the church's political life."

"For some time now, Graham Ward has blended orthodox theology, biblical study, and cultural theory with an independent originality. Now he has added politics to this mix. The result is simultaneously a greater edge to his own theology and an imbuing of contemporary political theology with more realistic depth and practical prescience than it usually exhibits. An extremely significant volume in the present time."--John Milbank, professor of religion, politics, and ethics, University of Nottingham

"Extraordinary! Ward does nothing less than help us see how 'world' and 'church' implicate each other by providing an insightful and learned account of the transformation of democracy, the perversities of globalization, and the ambiguities of secularization. Perhaps even more significant is his theological proposal for the difference the church can make in the world so described. This is an extraordinary book."--Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University"

In this book, Graham Ward boldly offers a fresh description of the consumer economy and the processes of globalization, examining the illusions they generate, the states of amnesia they call us into, and the slavery they impose. In the process, he constructs a counter-narrative of a Christian discipleship in the service of postmaterial values that is founded on an eschatological humanism and ecclesiology. The result is a new political theology, powerfully presented, rooted in Scripture and tradition, and fully engaged in reading the postsecular signs of the times."--Peter Manley Scott, senior lecturer in Christian social thought and director of the Lincoln Theological Institute, University of Manchester
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Product Details

  • Series: The Church and Postmodern Culture
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801031583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031588
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Graham Ward provides theological and metaphysical insight into 'the church' and 'the world' and how, as Hauerwas put it, they "implicate each other." This is rather serious and 'proper' theologizing and not for 'everyone' as other books in the series have aimed to do. Basically, ask yourself a few questions... Do I want to know if the modern city has an traceable eschatology? Do I want to learn how globalization squirmed its way out of the Christian tradition? What are the metaphysics of American 'liberal democracy' and 'neoliberal economics'? etc.

If one understands what the book is aiming to do, and braces for how much erudition Ward uses to do it... then they will love it!
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Format: Paperback
This book is just a rehash of the usual reactionary nonsense in the form of postmodern rhetoric. He is one of the new sort of thinkers that distrusts liberal democracy, because of a very tendentious interpretation of Christendom's history. It flouts actual history itself, in the course of it. On p. 25, he says that though the Roman Church was expanding it had a greater sense of its "smallness." Ridiculous. The opposite is true. But that he says it is no surprise because such reactionary fellows are at pains to portray the expansion of Christendom's actual ambitions as some how not as merely material as they were. The Counter-Reformation it a bit of an inconvenience for their theory. It is all about blaming the Enlightenment in the end, and liberal democracy. It is pure foolishness, and cussedness from people who have benefitted so much from it. Modern culture is filled with problems, no doubt, but the answer is NOT to demean what is good in those developments. The nadir of this way of thinking comes in his utterly false statement that democracy is somehow intrinsically unstable. Amazingly, one can limn a cypto-neo-monarchist effort in this thinking and that of a scholar that Ward praises, Christopher Ferrara. His thinking is so base, that he sees democracy as the forcing ground of totalitarianism. Incredible. The book seems the purest nonsense from the actual historical perspective of real life. But in a theology department, which needs someone safely reactionary enough to handle the postmodern effluvia it is like like the Ruach of the spirit blowing down the graduate halls with some naughty, outre Foucaultian tropes caught in the wind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had higher hopes for this book than it delivered. The title made me think of "Gaudium et Spes," the document of the Catholic Ecumenical Vatican II Council, regarding the Church in the Modern World. But The Politics of Discipleship divided World from Church, not interweaving the two, as much as Gaudium et Spes did.

When I hear or read the word 'Politics,' even when it claims to be about the Aristotelian notion of politics, humans acting to govern their city (polis), or nation, I reach for my wallet, and I'm glad i did in the case of this book.

From the title, one would expect that the author would be equally congratulatory, or equally severe, on every human political party (in this case, American) orientation. But one would be wrong. By my count, there are at least 7 or 8 references to US President George W. Bush, and each one of those are derogatory. Now, it is fine for one to deplore the presidency of George W. Bush, but do not make him into paradigm of all evil. Also, the first half of the book, and many places in the second half, on the Church, are very hard on "laissez faire" capitalism, and not nearly as hard on the much more materialistic Marxism--the words 'Soviet Union' are not found in the book.

But no one I know is in favor of laissez faire, completely unregulated capitalism, so Ward is arguing against the proverbial straw man. Indeed, the word 'capitalism' is most reminiscent of Marx' Das Kapital, which hardly qualifies as a reputable source in our day.

Regarding both capitalism (which Pope John Paul II would rather call the 'market economy) and democracy, everyone would agree that they are the worst economic and political systems, except for all the others. Thus, Ward's book comes across as a brief for the Left.

On the other hand, I found in Chapter 7, the last chapter, much good Biblical exegesis.

Take this book 'cum grano salis.'
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