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1. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Christine Gudorf, Paul Lauritzen Preface
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selected essays
2. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
June O'Connor Ethics in Popular Culture
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ETHICS IS ABUNDANT IN POPULAR CULTURE—IN RADIO TALK SHOWS, television, films, moral advice columns, books and workshops on popular psychology and spirituality, and other venues. This essay explores the ways in which ethics is presented in three select popular settings; the ethical questions addressed in those settings; the moral theories, perspectives, and values that are privileged in opinions offered; and the judgments that are proffered. Of special interest to professional ethicists are the ways in which ethics in popular culture participates in the ways ethics is done in the academy and the ways in which popular media frame and foster ethics differently from the ways the academy does. This article was the Presidential Address at the 2004 Society of Christian Ethics annual meeting in Chicago.
3. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Margaret E. Mohrmann Integrity: Integritas, Innocentia, Simplicitas
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THE OBJECT OF THIS ESSAY IS TO EXPLORE PRIOR CHRISTIAN CONCEPTIONS of integrity to clarify and deepen current understanding of the term, by demonstrating its evolution and bringing forward nuances of meaning that may be overlooked or deemphasized. In doing so, I hope to contribute to a broader discussion of the place of integrity in present-day Christian ethics.
4. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Ann E. Mongoven Integrity versus Impartiality: Healing a False Dichotomy
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A FALSE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN INTEGRITY AND IMPARTIALITY HAS become entrenched in contemporary ethical and political theory. Drawing on the work of Bernard Williams and Alasdair MacIntyre, this essay sketches the dichotomy and argues for its ultimate falseness. Eco-theologians' innovative use of the term "integrity" suggests directions for transcending the false dichotomy. Increasingly, the term "integrity of creation" is used to flag religioethical dimensions of ecology. This usage changes the subject of integrity from individuals to systems, implying that personal integrity is a derivative concept that is related to how one responds to the complexity of systems. A structurally parallel change in the subject of integrity would benefit political theory. It would promote an "ecological politics" that integrates alternative definitions of integrity as wholeness, consistency, and balance. It also would suggest new conceptions of civic virtue that avoid dichotomizing between personal integrity and public impartiality.
5. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Aline H. Kalbian Integrity in Catholic Sexual Ethics
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TOTALITY AND COMPLEMENTARITY ARE PROMINENT TERMS IN CATHOLIC discussions of sexuality and gender. In this essay I explore these terms as they relate to the concept of integrity. I argue that although these terms were originally intended to describe the importance of physical integrity or wholeness, recent moves toward a more personalistic sexual ethic have rendered them problematic. More precisely, although these two terms appear to have integrity as their goal, uncertainty about the object of integrity results in fragmentation.
6. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
David Cloutier Composing Love Songs for the Kingdom of God?: Creation and Eschatology in Catholic Sexual Ethics
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THE VATICAN II MANDATE TO TREAT TOPICS IN MORAL THEOLOGY IN A WAY that will "shed light on the loftiness of the calling of the faithful in Christ" points the way to an alternative approach, in which sexuality and the lofty calling to the Kingdom are not simply kept separate. Such an approach would be a genuinely eschatological narration of marriage and sexuality. In this essay I argue three points: First, as a background story, the characterization of the shift in the tradition on sexual issues from a "negative" to a "positive" view of sexuality is both inaccurate and theologically rather empty. Second, four writers (Pope John Paul II, Germain Grisez, Lisa Cahill, and Herbert McCabe) all manifest this shift, but their construals of eschatology differ significantly—indicating that future debate about sexual ethics will have to take place among competing narrations of eschatology rather than in terms of competing moral theories about how to justify certain norms. Finally, I gesture toward potential implications for sexual norms in light of eschatological approaches to marriage and sexuality.
7. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Ted A. Smith Redeeming Critique: Resignations to the Cultural Turn in Christian Theology and Ethics
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IN THIS ESSAY I BEGIN BY NAMING A "TURN TO CULTURE" THAT MARKS A wide range of works in contemporary theology and ethics. I describe how the turn plays out in books by Stanley Hauerwas and Delores S. Williams and argue that their idealist versions of the turn uncritically replicate core features of the dominant cultures they try to criticize. I explain how their idealism in conceiving the oppositional cultures to which they turn constructs those cultures as "others" to the culture being criticized, wholes unto themselves, and symbols that directly participate in some ultimate good or truth. I then gesture toward a more critical, self-conscious performance of the turn to culture. I argue that turns to culture should not obscure but rather thematize the role of the critic in making the turn. I use the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Walter Benjamin to argue that self-conscious critique will involve a set of resignations to reflexivity rather than otherness, to a hodgepodge of highly mobile practices rather than a single, unified tradition, and to regarding cultural artifacts as mixed allegories rather than pure symbols.
8. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Timothy A. Beach-Verhey Exemplifying Public Discourse: Christian Faith, American Democracy, and Martin Luther King Jr.
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MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. IS UNIVERSALLY REGARDED AS ONE OF THE most important figures in twentieth-century American public life. Yet his subtle integration of Christian faith and democratic values runs afoul of many current theories concerning faith, liberal democracy, and public discourse. Putting John Rawls's secular liberalism and Stanley Hauerwas's Christian traditionalism in conversation with Martin Luther King's words and deeds reveals the weaknesses inherent in both Rawls's and Hauerwas's approaches. Furthermore, the exemplary model of public discourse that King embodied provides clues to a way out of the impasse between secular liberalism and Christian traditionalism. Ultimately, this examination of Martin Luther King Jr. points toward a theocentric model of public engagement that is appropriate (and necessary) for public discourse in a pluralistic, democratic context.
9. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Aaron Stalnaker Spiritual Exercises and the Grace of God: Paradoxes of Personal Formation in Augustine
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AUGUSTINE'S MATURE, ANTI-PELAGIAN UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN AND divine willing might appear to conflict with his advocacy (in numerous sermons, for example) of human striving to "make progress in righteousness" through various practices of personal reformation. In this essay I consider exercises such as reading and listening to scripture, fasting, and Eucharistie worship; I argue that although deep tensions exist in Augustine's account, ultimately they are not contradictions. Furthermore, recent attempts to retrieve "spiritual exercises" or askesis for contemporary ethical reflection would do well to grapple with Augustine's thought and practice in this area.
10. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Glen H. Stassen Just Peacemaking as Hermeneutical Key: The Need for International Cooperation in Preventing Terrorism
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DATA SHOW THAT THE STRATEGY OF ARGUING THAT A WAR IS UNJUST, or that we should oppose all wars, always loses the national debate that occurs before a war. Data also show, however, that articulating an alternative to the war fares much better. Facing this reality requires us to develop an additional ethic besides just war and pacifism—an ethic that articulates specific alternatives to a war.