Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness

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InterVarsity Press, Jan 9, 2010 - Religion - 117 pages
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How are Christians to live in a violent and wounded world? Rather than contending for privilege by wielding power and authority, we can witness prophetically from a position of weakness. The church has much to learn from an often overlooked community--those with disabilities. In this fascinating book, theologian Stanley Hauerwas collaborates with Jean Vanier, founder of the worldwide L'Arche communities. For many years, Hauerwas has reflected on the lives of people with disability, the political significance of community, and how the experience of disability addresses the weaknesses and failures of liberal society. And L'Arche provides a unique model of inclusive community that is underpinned by a deep spirituality and theology. Together, Vanier and Hauerwas carefully explore the contours of a countercultural community that embodies a different way of being and witnesses to a new order--one marked by radical forms of gentleness, peacemaking and faithfulness. The authors' explorations shed light on what it means to be human and how we are to live. The robust voice of Hauerwas and the gentle words of Vanier offer a synergy of ideas that, if listened to carefully, will lead the church to a fresh practicing of peace, love and friendship. This invigorating conversation is for everyday Christians who desire to live faithfully in a world that is violent and broken.

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Don't let the "religion" genre scare you away. Even if you aren't religious/Christian it is an excellent read. Don't worry, it isn't a book telling you to drop everything and found a new type of society.
I highly recommend this book. A friend suggested that I mention I'm only 27 yrs old - this is not something you'll only appreciate in later years. In fact, our generation, reading this book, is probably the one that society would benefit from the most. Sorry, that sounds cheesy, but it's sincere.

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While so much of the conversation surrounding violence in our world seems to be focused on war these days, in Living Gently in a Violent World, Jean Vanier and Stanley Hauerwas offer a unique perspective on violence situated a little bit closer to home. This book is the fruit of an allegiance formed between the founder of L’Arche communities and “America’s best theologian.” The question that brought these two individuals together was, “What does L’Arche have to say to the church?” and this question is the focal point this book. In other words, “What does a community committed to people with intellectual disabilities experiencing life with others that do not have the same struggles have to say to the Church today?” Vanier and Hauerwas seem to think that this type of community has a great deal to say to the Church, suggesting that L’Arche communities are a prophetic voice to which the Church should attentively listen. 

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Series Preface
place with all the time and bother that may require
about the authors
about the Duke Divinity School
About the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation

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About the author (2010)

Stanley Hauerwas (Ph.D., Yale University) is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School, Duke University. He was named "America's best theologian" by Time in 2001 and has written consistently about the theological significance of disability. One of the most widely read theologians of the late twentieth century, his books include Resident Aliens, Wilderness Wanderings, A Community of Character, A Peaceable Kingdom, Sanctify Them in the Truth, With the Grain of the Universe and A Better Hope.

Jean Vanier (Ph.D., L'Institut Catholique de Paris) is the founder of L'Arche, an international network of communities where people with and without learning disabilities experience life together as fellow human beings who share a mutuality of care and need. Today over 130 L'Arche communities exist in 34 countries on 6 continents. Jean's books include Community and Growth, Becoming Human, From Brokenness to Community and Befriending the Stranger.

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