Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society

Article excerpt

Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society. By Marva J. Dawn. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003. xxii + 216 pp. $18.95 (paper).

Dawn begins this book with consciousness-raising through a strident recitation of statistics that detail the great divide between the world's "haves" and "have-nots" as that is tied to injustice and violence. The cause of our consumerism a la Albert Borgmann (Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984] and Crossing the Postmodern Divide [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992]) is the Marxist critique of the break between labor and production which commodities products and alienates workers until "society is characterized by the proliferation of devices that produce an endless stream of commodities unrelated to any context and thereby leaving consumers without a world of relationships" (p. 57).

Following Borgmann, Dawn says that what is needed in order to be connected is the clearing of space for our "focal concerns," thereby limiting "technology and other consumerist products to their proper place" (p. 60). This means creating the space for "the love of God and the love of neighbor" (p. 76) given in "the arduous engagement of Bible study, prayer, meditation, worship, Sabbath keeping, generosity, service, home devotion, and the raising of children in faith" (p. 85).

After a critique of the church in its capitulation to commodification where worship, for example, becomes a device to attract and please, Dawn proclaims that the foundation of "unfettered hope" is given in a realist "metanarrative," a story that comprehends life from its beginning to end. …

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