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11. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 22
Christine Gudorf Preface
12. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 22
John Hart Salmon and Social Ethics: Relational Consciousness in the Web of Life
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People from Native American/First Nation spiritual traditions and from Christian religious backgrounds express sometimes contradictory, sometimes complementary perspectives on humans' role in an interrelated and interdependent "web of life." The extinction of salmon species in the Columbia-Snake river system of Canada and the United States, and the loss of salmon from the Haida Gwaii fisheries off the western coast of Canada, provide bioregional stimuli for reflection on whether nonhuman species have intrinsic value or solely instrumental value, and the extent to which species preservation should have equitable status with, or take precedence over, human wants and apparent human needs. If societal needs and species conservation, and the common good of all creatures, are to be integrated for the good of the commons then a relational consciousness must replace "dominion" and "stewardship" attitudes toward creation.
13. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 22
Howard J. Vogel African Americans and the Right to Self-Determination in a Christian Context
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The domestic legal obstacles to affirmative action to address the problem of the color line that have arisen in the United States in the past 30 years have become the occasion for discouragement and even despair in the face of the persistent racial disparities in American life. This is due, in part, to the limits of our domestic vocabulary for speaking about such initiatives. In this paper I argue that Christian ethics, with the help of the resources of the emergent minority rights dialogue in international human rights, can play an important role in securing the cultural transformation needed to broaden our vocabulary and reframe our thinking so that our efforts to secure racial justice are not bound by the limits of the conventional domestic vocabulary. Specifically, I argue that the new international discussion of "the right to self-determination" can be usefully employed within Christian ethics to secure the cultural, moral and legal changes needed to secure racial justice in the United States.
14. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
15. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Jennifer Beste Receiving and Responding to God's Grace: A Re-examination in Light of Trauma Theory
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Christians have traditionally claimed a kind of invulnerability to harm that would render them incapable of responding to God's grace. This claim to invulnerability will be examined in light of trauma theory's insistence that, in situations of overwhelming violence, a person's capacity for responsive agency can be severely disabled. Drawing from incest survivors' experiences of recovery, I argue that a critical re-examination of the human capacity to receive God's grace must include greater appreciation for how God's love is mediated, at least in part, through loving interpersonal relations. Ethical implications resulting from this insight should challenge our communities in profound ways.
16. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Raymond Kemp Anderson Corporate Selfhood and "Meditatio Vitae Futurae": How Necessary Is Eschatology for Christian Ethics?
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With John Calvin, the Reformed tradition found inseparable linkage between eschatology and ethics. Christians' decision making must include reflection about God's future re-creation of our corporate, corporeal selves, or else individualism or dualism will set in. Meditatio vitae futurae is to figure right alongside of the Creator's past word for us and His present intercourse as Spirit among us. Calvin's three foci here, trinitarian in intent, are Christologically informed. Comprising teleological, deontological, and contextual vectors for ethical consideration, they are to work together as orientational constants—a kind of global positioning system—functioning as faith's response to the triune God. This eschatology becomes a key to puzzles in Calvin's ethics: such as why he is reluctant to prescribe patterns of conduct; why he gives such prominence to Christians' freedom; or again, how his world-weary expressions cohere with his astounding activism. Calvin's letters show how anticipation of our future generates normative challenge, proleptic promise, and much more.
17. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Charles Kimball The Just Peacemaking Paradigm and Middle East Conflicts
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Turmoil in many parts of the predominantly Muslim world is connected both to common themes and specific historical, political, social, and economic circumstances in various countries. While short-term threats may require forceful actions to neutralize violent extremists, the longer-term challenge requires painstaking work in the dense thicket of the particulars present in each situation. The just peacemaking paradigm provides an invaluable framework for addressing constructively the multiple root causes of conflict in the Middle East. This article identifies four specific practices from the just peacemaking theory, practices that provide meaningful ways to build trust, nurture hope, and move intentionally toward a more healthy future.
18. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Andrea Vicini Ethical Issues and Approaches in Stem Cell Research: From International Insights to a Proposal
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In recent years and months, human stem cell research has dominated many scientists' interests, the media, public debate, and social policy. This paper aims to consider, first, the major scientific data on stem cell research that are available. Second, I reflect on them by examining how they shaped policies in Europe and the United States. I also point to current changes in policy-making concerning the creation of ad hoc committees to address this novel issue and how, in a few instances, different ethical positions are part of the documents produced. In other words, diverse approaches are not solved but kept in tension. Finally, I suggest that the current state of research on human stem cell will benefit from an ethics of risk.
19. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Douglas F. Ottati "Christ and Culture": Still Worth Reading after All These Years
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This essay argues that H. Richard Niebuhr's classic book, Christ and Culture, is best understood as a typology of moral theologies. Each of Niebuhr's five types may be regarded as a patterned resolution of four theological relations: reason and revelation, God and world, sin and goodness, and law and gospel. Many of his evaluative comments reflect his preference for what he calls a transformationist or conversionist pattern. However, it is not difficult to imagine evaluative comments on the several types, including the transformationist one, made from the perspective of a different preferred resolution of the four theological relations. Moreover, Niebuhr's scheme remains useful for analyzing more recent texts in theological ethics, such as Gustavo Gutierrez's A Theology of Liberation. Thus, while the book is not without its flaws and while readers may wish to enter some emendations and revisions, Christ and Culture is still worth reading because the categories it presents for analyzing moral theologies remain unsurpassed in their richness, usefulness, and suggestiveness.
20. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
D. M. Yeager The View from Somewhere: The Meaning of Method in "Christ and Culture"
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Accepting James Gustafson's recent argument that right reading and valid criticism of H. R. Niebuhr's Christ and Culture must begin with an informed understanding of Niebuhr's utilization of the ideal-typical method, the author reviews characteristics of Weberian typologies and discusses the levels of criticism to which typologies are legitimately subject. Right appreciation of the text's genre exposes many criticisms of Christ and Culture to be misguided, but it also throws into relief those features of the text that cannot be accounted for by that method, revealing the complexity of a text that advances both a comparative descriptive analysis and a bold theological argument. Recognition of this tension prompts the question whether the one so compromises or constrains the other that the enterprise does, indeed, fail as a whole, even though it remains intensely interesting in all its parts.