Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics

Wells, Samuel

Published by SPCK Publishing
ISBN 10: 0281057206 / ISBN 13: 9780281057207
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Synopsis: Christian ethics presented as an act of improvisation on the Bible Sam Wells sees Christian Ethics as a matter of 'faithfully improvising on the Christian tradition'. The Bible is not so much a script to rehearse, as it is a 'training school' that shapes the habits and practices of a community in action. The goal of Christian ethics is to teach Christians to 'embody their faith in the practices of discipleship at all times'. Drawing on scriptural narratives and church history, he details six practices that characterise both improvisation and Christian ethics, including categories such as 'forming habits', 'questioning givens' and 'reincorporating the lost'. He concludes with specific examples of ethical issues, such as facing evil and the perils and promises of genetically modified food. Well's fresh and imaginative discussion reinforces the goal of Christian ethics - not to 'help someone act Christianly in a crisis' but to teach Christians to 'embody their faith in the practices of discipleship all the time'.

From the Back Cover: Improvisation establishes theatrical improvisation as a model for Christian ethics, helping Christians embody their faith in the practices of discipleship. A new afterword by Wesley Vander Lugt and Benjamin D. Wayman explores the book's reception and ongoing significance.

"[A] fresh, engaging approach to Christian ethics."
--Gayle Gerber Koontz, Christian Century

"This book is a treasure, a genuine contribution to the field of Christian ethics. In it Wells offers a constructive account of Christian ethics that critiques quandary ethics on the one hand and postliberal ethics on the other. He argues persuasively that the Christian practices of worship, especially baptism and Eucharist, can be helpfully thought of in terms of theatrical improvisation. Such a rethinking uncovers resources in these practices that might otherwise be missed, resources that can guide the church as it seeks to live faithfully in the world."
--L. Roger Owens, Modern Theology

"This book is conversant both with academic issues and with the liturgical and pastoral practices of congregational ministry. . . . Wells's account represents a significant advance for the discipline of Christian ethics."
--David S. Cunningham, Theology Today

"Wells provides us with skills for the imagination that we might live more faithful (and humorous) lives as Christians. This extraordinarily sophisticated book can be read for profit by those well schooled in the literature of theology and ethics, but more important, this book will satisfy those who hunger and thirst for an account of what it means to live as a Christian in our day."
--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

"This is one of the most relevant, stimulating, and lucid books on Christian ethics to appear for some time. It provides an excellent introduction to current debates in Christian ethics while making its own vivid and sometimes controversial contribution. It is in many places profound and original, and it deserves to be widely read and discussed."
--Duncan B. Forrester, University of Edinburgh

"Bold, creative, and yet showing a deep mastery of his craft, Wells charts a fresh course for Christian theological ethics that is at once artful, contemporary, and faithful both to the Bible and to the best of Christian ethical reflection. This is a very important book."
--Michael Hanby, Baylor University

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Title: Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics
Publisher: SPCK Publishing
Binding: PAPERBACK
Book Condition: Very Good

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