This is the second book in the new SCM "Society and Church" series, which attempts to make sense of the Church and Christianity in a secular society and context, and explore what the former can legitimately contribute to the latter. How do we make sense of who and what we are in this secular, 21st century context of incredible - and often disorienting - change in so many areas of life? That is the central question which this book sets out to answer. At present, in our society, there are major, rapid and interconnected changes in information technology, globalization, work and employment practices, consumerism, and family, all of which have a pressing bearing on our sense of self. How may we best live through this process of change, and does Christian faith propose a mode of living which can be beneficial to personal identity? In answering these two questions, the latter affirmatively, the author develops a theology of faithfulness, which he thinks, like theology itself, has been unjustly neglected in providing answers. White enables theology to speak to a central issue of contemporary life with considerable power and persuasiveness.
"Vernon White can be relied on to bring illumination to most topics. In this book he addresses the neglected notion of faithfulness. (...) There is a particularly good account of the relationship of roles to identity, which notes that faithfulness can accomodate roles that are not fixed, through their integration into 'creative continuities' and an overarching narrative tradition. We are warned against a flase faithfulness that fossilizes relationships and oppresses its victims. (...) I was particularly taken by his chapter on 'practices of work'. He faces down much of the spurious rhetoric of corporate loyalty as short term, insecure and driven by economics, and thus providing merely 'a semblance of solidarity to replace the real solidarities of occupational, career or class belonging'." Jeff Astley, Durham, THEOLOGY, November-December 2003.
"White rehearses just enough background to let you know how he is building his case. He is both biblically and philosophically well read and his style remains fluid and free of unnecessary details or repetition. (...) This book is a remarkable and largely successful plea for our society to return to the meta-narrative; to reject the individualism that tends to fragment identity into a series of separate desires and experiences unconnected to each other except perhaps by 'personal goal or ambition.' White speaks of the 'largely unprovable' and 'often hidden' joys that can be the reward of faithfulness but he is no optimist that present society has eyes to see them or ears to listen to them." Sturat Penny, Keswick, ANVIL Volume 21 No 2 2004.