Fidelity of Heart: An Ethic of Christian Virtue

Fidelity of Heart: An Ethic of Christian Virtue

Fidelity of Heart: An Ethic of Christian Virtue

Fidelity of Heart: An Ethic of Christian Virtue

Synopsis

What does it take to follow and not merely admire Jesus? How do religious affections reshape the practice of Christian values like love, peace, justice, and compassion? How can they possess both universal truth and local meaning? What role can they play in public life? In Fidelity of Heart Gilman answers these questions, while showing, in an innovative and provocative approach, how Christians can practice these values in ways continuous with the life of Jesus.

Excerpt

While working on a different book, on the philosophy of religion, I found my attention repeatedly diverted to issues and concerns that form the core of this book. Although these issues were not particularly new to me, they did impress themselves upon me as somewhat urgent, at least urgent for me to address. and so, setting aside work on the philosophy of religion, I embarked on a journey that led me through terrain I never could have imagined traversing at the outset. For some time I have thought that the two dimensions of human experience most neglected by Christian ethicists are the role of the imagination and the role of the emotions in moral life. Some ethicists do take seriously the emotions, of course, and others take seriously the imagination, but few take account of both as central and vital to constructing a unified approach to Christian ethics. That is what I have tried to do in this book.

My greatest personal and intellectual debt is to Vernon C. Grounds, chancellor of Denver Theological Seminary. Years ago, when I was an awkward theological student, Vernon's vision and vitality, along with his prophetic and pastoral ways, challenged me to think critically about ethics and Christian faith. His insistence on the revolutionary character of Christian ethics coupled with his single-minded commitment to the care of each human being still inspire me all these years later. I am deeply indebted as well to Edward Long, Jr., and to Charles Courtney, both of Drew University. Professor Long introduced me through his teaching and writing to the wonders and worries of Christian ethics, and through his patient and personal concern encouraged me in this scholarly endeavor. Whatever capacity for clear, careful, critical analysis that may be demonstrated in this book is largely due to Professor Courtney who not only models such skills but also elicits them from others.

Professor Roger Gilman, brother and philosophical colleague, and I have had many conversations over the years about religious and philosophical ethics. He has graciously read drafts of some of the material in this book and willingly discussed much of it at one time or another, and provided helpful perspectives . . .

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