Mandate and Symbol of Faith
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: SCM Press
This book is written as an exercise in theological reflection on one of the knottiest questions imaginable: the connection between being a Christian and the way we own and use things. Thinking is always hard work, and thinking about the things we own and use brings us to the very heart of our individual and collective sense of identity. Much of the book is devoted to what is said about possessions in the Bible; however, that cannot be presented as a neatly wrapped package. First, it is doubtful whether there is such a package, and second, even if there were, it could all too easily become just one more possession. Individuals have to struggle through to their own personal choice on the basis of serious thought. One point at which the author, who spent nine years as a monk, takes issue with the Christian tradition, is over communal possessions. Although this has been an ideal from the book of Acts onwards, it carries with it many dangers, from motivation to social control, and in a modern world other forms of sharing, above all almsgiving, are shown to have a more satisfactory theological foundation.
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