Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril

Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril

Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril

Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril

Synopsis

A compelling vision-before it's too late

In this splendidly crafted work, McFague argues for theology as an ethical imperative for all thinking Christians: Responsible discipleship today entails disciplined religious reflection. Moreover, theology matters: Without serious reflection on their worldview, ultimate commitments, and lifestyle, North American Christians cannot hope to contribute to ensuring the "good life" for people or the planet. To live differently we must think differently.

McFague's has therefore written primer in theology. It helps Christians assess their own religious story in light of the larger Christian tradition and the felt needs of the planet. At once an apology for an ecologically driven theology and a model for how theology itself might be expressed, her work is expressly crafted to bring people into the practice of religious reflection as a form of responsible Christian practice in the world. McFague shows the reader how articulating one's personal religious story and credo can lead directly into contextual analysis, unfolding of theological concepts, and forms of Christian practice.

In lucid prose she offers creative discussions of revelation, the reigning economic worldview (and its ecological alternative), and how a planetary theology might approach classical areas of God and the world, Christ and salvation, and life in the Spirit. Enticing readers into serious self-assessment and creative commitment, McFague's new work encourages and models a theological practice that "gives glory to God by loving the world."

Excerpt

I have written each of my books in an effort to make up for deficiencies in the last one. Life Abundant is no exception. After completing Super, Natural Christians, subtitled How We Should Love Nature, I realized love was not enough. I realized that we middleclass North American Christians are destroying nature, not because we do not love it, but because of the way we live: our ordinary, taken-for-granted high-consumer lifestyle. I realized that the matter of loving nature was a deep, complex, tricky question involving greed, indifference, and denial.

So I have set about trying to rectify the inadequacies of my last book with yet another (inadequate) book. the thesis of this one is that we North American middle-class Christians need to live differently in order to love nature, and to live differently, we need to think differently—especially about ourselves and who we are in the scheme of things. and by “think differently” I do not mean our conscious, “for publication” thoughts about ourselves, but the largely unconscious picture of who we are that is the silent partner in all our behavior and decisions. These world-pictures or worldviews are formed by many factors, one of which is the religious assumptions about human beings that operate implicitly in a culture. the current dominant American worldview, a legacy from the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and eighteenthcentury economic theory, is that we are individuals with the right to happiness, especially the happiness of the consumer-style “abundant life.” the market ideology has become our way of life, almost our religion, telling us who we are (consumers) and what is the goal of life (making money). in report after report from the United Nations Development Programme and similar organizations, the grim results of this lifestyle are becoming apparent: a widening gap between the rich and the poor as well as the unraveling of the irreplaceable life systems of the planet. Is this loving nature—or our neighbor?

I don’t think so. I realized that a basic deficiency in my last book was the neglect of economics (partly because I thought it was too . . .

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