While many manuals advise clergy and congregants on tactics for church survival or thriving, few address the deepest identity, shape, and imperatives of the church in its identity in Christ and the tradition of discipling that stems from his life, work, death, and resurrection. As compelling as it is clear, Craig Nessan's important new work retrieves biblical metaphors of the body of Christ and, following Dietrich Bonhoeffer, sees church today as "Christ existing as community." To theological-probing Nessan then adds contextual analysis and describes the four chief imperatives that mark Christ's presence in the world today: peacemaking, justice-making, care for creation, and engagement with the other. He then unfolds the real-life implications of this paradigm of Christian community for local church structure, strategies for partnering, public witness, and interreligious engagement.Chapter 1 Adobe Acrobat DocumentContents Adobe Acrobat DocumentPreface Adobe Acrobat DocumentSamples require Adobe Acrobat ReaderHaving trouble downloading and viewing PDF samples?"The body of Christ, distorted almost beyond recognition by what popularly passes as church life these days, is faithfully portrayed by the insightful, biblically and theologically grounded reflections of Craig Nessan as the Shalom Church, which engages peacemaking, social justice, care of creation, and respect for human dignity."-Rev. Dennis JacobsenDirector, Gamaliel National Clergy CaucusAuthor of Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing"It is encouraging to those of us who have tried so hard to believe in the 'reality' of the church and work for its 'realization' that new voices have taken up that challenge today and are addressing the religious situation in North America and the world with imagination, zest, and hope. I am delighted to commend Craig Nessan's thoughtful book, and I hope that it will be read widely and attentively throughout the churches."-Douglas John Hall, C.M.Professor of Theology EmeritusMcGill University, Montreal
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