In this clearly written and insightful book, Gerald Schlabach addresses the "Protestant dilemma" in ecclesiology: how to build lasting Christian community in a world of individualism and transience. Schlabach, a former Mennonite who is now Catholic, seeks not to encourage readers to abandon Protestant churches but to relearn some of the virtues that all Christian communities need to sustain their communal lives. He offers a vision for the right and faithful roles of authority, stability, and loyal dissent in Christian communal life. The book deals with issues that transcend denominations and will appeal to all readers, both Catholic and Protestant, interested in sustaining Christian tradition and community over time.
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"Well written and perspicaciously framed, Unlearning Protestantism represents a stimulating contribution to ecumenical dialogue. Gerald Schlabach lifts up the practice of stability and the virtue of fidelity for Christian ecclesial communities with characteristic hospitality and humility. His own story of becoming a Mennonite Catholic provides a hopeful model for the sort of virtuous empathy he recommends to Christians as they plumb the depths of their own traditions while engaging in dialogue across ecclesial traditions."-- Margaret Pfeil, University of Notre Dame
"Many of us Protestants are not Catholic enough to know what we are protesting. This book is a unique celebration of the stability of Catholicism while also recognizing that the church needs a revolution every few hundred years. A monumental step toward the unity Jesus dreamed of as he prayed that the church would be one as God is one."-- Shane Claiborne, author and activist, www.thesimpleway.org
"In this fascinating, scintillating book, Schlabach shows how absolutely crucial the practice of stability and the virtue of fidelity are for sustaining Christian communities today. Perhaps most important is Schlabach's claim that loyal dissent, far from being a threat to a community and its traditions, is rooted in a community's traditions and aims to enrich them. Thoughtful, insightful, and refreshingly challenging, Schlabach's Unlearning Protestantism is a gift for Christians whose impatience with imperfect communities tempts them to forget that God is present in the very ordinary--and often trying--circumstances of our lives."-- Paul J. Wadell, St. Norbert College
"The question before Christians today is not whether the Reformation is over but, as Schlabach frames it so well, whether Protestants will be able to sustain faithful Christian communities over time apart from a serious engagement with the Catholic tradition. Written in an accessible and winsome style, this book needs to read by every scholar and layperson interested in the unity and witness of the church. In particular, Schlabach's treatment of the relationship between stability and dissent is nothing short of masterful."-- Barry Harvey, Honors College, Baylor University
Gerald W. Schlabach (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) is professor of theology and director of the Justice and Peace Studies program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the founder and director of Bridgefolk, a movement of Mennonites and Roman Catholics who come together to celebrate each other's traditions, explore each other's practices, and honor each other's contribution to the mission of Christ's church. He is also the author or editor of several books.
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