Much is being written about the church, Mary Sawyer says, but established theologians and sociologists of religion typically limit their inquiries to white, establishment Christianity. Yet this is only one segment of the church. And so they miss writing about Christian community at all-for Christian community is lived community.
The attention paid to white churches is uninformative and even misleading insofar as African Americans, Latina/os, Native Americans, and Asian Americans are concerned. Their experiences, in the world and in the church, are markedly different and cannot be generalized from the white population. Moreover, examining the church on the margins offers valuable insights for all churches looking to build living Christian community.
This book explains expressions of the Christian religion that have survived, or are struggling to survive, the distortions caused by ignoring the church on the margins. In traditional church circles, community may refer to a gathering for food and fellowship, a Bible study class or adult forum, or charity and service to the needy. Community as lived by these Christians on the margin, however, is a group of people coming together intentionally to live the gospel values of inclusiveness, justice, and caring in order to create a transformed world.
Mary R. Sawyer is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, where she also teaches in African American studies. She is the author of Black Ecumenism: Implementing the Demands of Justice and co-editor of People's Temple and Black Religion in America.
Mary Sawyer's The Church on the Margins is a refreshing and insightful study of U.S. Christianity. She argues that white Protestantism is dying because it is both inwardly individualistic and collectively imperialistic toward racial and ethnic minorities. By contrast the churches of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, as well as those where gays and women define the agenda, are community and social justice oriented. White Protestantism can only regain vitality by a real integration into these marginal Christian communities. This is a book to be savored and discussed. Rosemary Radford Ruether, Carpenter Professor of Feminist Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA--Rosemary Radford Ruether .".. the book provides a helping starting point for complex givens about one's own practice of the Christian faith and could, therefore, prove useful in a classroom or a congregational adult education setting."- Therese Lysaught, NWSA Journal Vol.19.1, Spring 2007--Sanford Lakoff "As we move ahead into the 21st century, many of us walk with Mary Sawyer seeking to embody a theology of justice. Our name might not be "legions" but we are indeed much more than a handful. We are the ones that continue to dream dreams and see visions of inclusive communities that rightfully can claim the name of "church."--Sanford Lakoff "Many of us, like Mary Sawyer does, start by recognizing that we enjoy countless privileges. However, we are willing to use those privileges for the benefit of all who are poor and oppressed thus creating and sustaining "beloved communities" that are justice-seeking at all cost."--Sanford Lakoff "Mary Sawyer's book has enormous sociological and historical value. It also offers valuable insights for a much needed ecclesiological theology that takes as its starting point the gospel message of the kin-dom of God and not the doctrines and traditions of the "imperial church." Mary Sawyer has turned her "longing for re-creation" of the "extraordinary moments of purpose and possibility" that she lived in the 1960s into a passion for community that is life-saving grace. Kudos to her and to all the women who continue to struggle decade after decade without giving up for justice and peace."--Sanford Lakoff "Of the countless studies of church, this new work is unique. Mary Sawyer, a professor of religious studies at Iowa State University, starts from her personal experience of seeking authentic Christian community and builds an illuminating study of Christianity in U.S. history...The heart of her work is her argument that the authentic gospel is only found on the margins a truth that seems to very much resonate with Jesus' teaching and ministry. The gift of this book is to instruct the entire church in how we can find and learn from those margins in our society." William O'Brien, The Other Side, Nov. & Dec. 2003--Sanford Lakoff "This volume will be especially valued by those concerned with contextual readings of the Bible. But all biblical scholars will be provoked by the protests it sounds and the questions it raises about the public responsibilities of biblical studies." Journal for the Study of the New Testament Booklist 2009--Sanford Lakoff "Journal for the Study of the New Testament "
|Introduction: Models of Christianity||p. 1|
|The Imperial Church in the United States||p. 21|
|Religious Roots of a New Nation||p. 23|
|The First One Hundred Years||p. 39|
|The Twentieth Century||p. 57|
|The Church on the Margins||p. 75|
|African American Communalism||p. 81|
|Native American Indigenization||p. 105|
|Latina/Latino Ecclesiology||p. 125|
|Asian American Syncretism||p. 151|
|Women's Sacred Communities||p. 167|
|GLBT Gifts and Grievances||p. 199|
|Toward a Renewed and Transformed Church||p. 221|
|Enclaves of Renewers and Transformers||p. 227|
|Ethnic Minority Memberships of Selected Denominations||p. 259|
|Stories of Christian Community||p. 265|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st August 2003
Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 16.2 x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.5
Edition Number: 1