A Step Along the Way

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Jesus taught his followers to regard their lives as called to loving service. In that spirit, many Christians, especially young people, seek to serve their communities or the wider world—whether part-time, for limited periods, or as a life-long commitment. Yet, for some reason, it is often dicult to talk about the lived connection between Christian faith and service.

A Step Along the Way will help overcome the gap between our language and our experience. It examines Christian service through a range of models—both in the sense of interpretive frameworks for understanding Christian service (such as stewardship, solidarity, and advocacy), and in the sense of individuals who embody such practices. Among these exemplars are Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. In the case of each model, the author considers its biblical warrants, its theological implications, its strengths and characteristic temptations.

Stephen J. Pope is a professor in the theology department of Boston College. He is the author of several books, including The Evolution of Altruism and the Ordering of Love and Human Evolution and Christian Ethics. He is editor of Hope and Solidarity: Jon Sobrino's Challenge to Christian Theology.

Book Details

A Step Along the Way
Models of Christian Service
Stephen J. Pope
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A Step Along the Way Table of Contents 141 Kb
Impressive for its systematic organization.... Service is an essential part of Christianity. Without it our faith is dead. The six models of Christian service that Pope presents are "a kind of inventory of values." Committed Christians will find them to be a helpful gauge in personalizing their service, incorporating new challenges and growing in faith.
Far too often, theological reflection on service and communal action is limited to the themes of Catholic social teaching. More attention to the biblical, spiritual and virtue roots of service is needed to appreciate it as a constitutive dimension of Christian life and its role in shaping moral agency.... Pope's work offers a valuable contribution to the ongoing conversation on the nature and role of Christian service. Its structure and subject matter make it ideal for college or parish groups preparing for service trips, service learning courses, volunteer communities, and individuals in service professions seeking to situate their work within the Christian tradition.
I recommend this book for all libraries, especially Catholic high school libraries.
As service becomes more and more part of the air we breathe in every educational institution in the land, Stephen Pope's fine book will become required reading . . . . Anyone who wishes to be a part of a “poor church for the poor" will want to savor this book and the new imagining to which it leads.
Stephen Pope offers a rich exploration of some distinct themes that can be discerned in lives devoted to Christian service, including compassion, solidarity, hospitality, advocacy, stewardship, and witness. To illustrate he draws upon familiar exemplars (Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, Mother Teresa, and others), but also lifts up the moving stories of lesser known but equally inspiring people like Dorothy Strang and Pierre Claverie.
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