A House for Hope
The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-First Century
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Hope is rising. The political tide in the United States has turned, and people across the country who have been working for years for social change and justice finally feel as though they aren't struggling alone. Yet for those who ground their social activism in progressive religious belief, it is all too easy to feel spiritually divided and isolated, daunted by the apparent dominance of religious fundamentalists in the media and politics. The impact of liberal religion is richer and more far—reaching than many know—a force for good that has inspired and supported two centuries of American social progress, from the abolition of slavery and the securing of women's rights to the present-day struggles for marriage equality, ecological responsibility, and global peace. In order to sustain our spirits and advance positive social change, progressive people need to claim the transforming power of our theological heritage.
Authored by two leading progressive theologians, A House for Hope affirms that the shared hopes of religious progressives from many traditions can create a movement far stronger than fundamentalism: a liberal religious renaissance. Yet for it to flourish, progressive people must rediscover the spiritual sustenance available in the theological house our liberal forebears built, and embrace what our tradition truly holds sacred, as well as understanding what it rejects.
In lively and engaging language, A House for Hope suggests that liberal religious commitment is based on expansive love for life rather than adherence to narrow dogma. With chapters that reveal the political and personal relevance of the enduring questions at the heart of this theology, A House for Hope shows how religious liberals have countered fundamentalists for generations, and provides progressives with not only a theological but also a spiritual foundation for the challenges of the twenty-first century.
John A. Buehrens was president of the Unitarian Universalist Association from 1993 to 2001 and is now minister of the First Parish Church in Needham, Massachusetts. He is coauthor, with Forrest Church, of A Chosen Faith and author of Understanding the Bible.
Rebecca Ann Parker is president of and professor of theology at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California, and coauthor, with Rita Nakashima Brock, of Saving Paradise and Proverbs of Ashes. An ordained United Methodist minister, Parker has dual fellowship with the United Methodist Church and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Progressive Protestants are committed primarily to the healing and creative transformation of themselves, their neighbors, and their world. They often experience 'theology' primarily as ideas and teachings that are authoritatively presented and hamper more than they help the work of the followers of Jesus. Their lack of a positive theology is one reason for their marginalization in today's religious scene. Buehrens and Parker begin with the life of service and work for justice and deepen it to show the implicit beliefs that it assumes and that are implicit in it. They show that progressive Protestants can be proud and articulate about their beliefs.—John B. Cobb, Jr., coauthor of For the Common Good
"To make hope something more than just another four-letter word we all need some positive evidence, which is just what this solid and well-crafted book supplies. Bombarded as we are by so much sound and fury from the religious right, we also need a credible voice from the often-ignored progressive wing of American religion, which is also what this work gives us."—Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith