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Receiving from the Other: Theology and Grass-Roots Organizing

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AbstractMany Christian theologians today highlight the absence of community and the common good as values in a secular culture: absence that privileges individualism, autonomy and self-sufficiency. Theological perspectives and grass-roots organizing invoke mutual accountability as a key feature of political life that sustains human flourishing for all. Theological community takes the form of sacrament, worship and creed in the encounter with Christian tradition and narratives. The grass-roots Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and similar organizations form community through relational meetings and the enhancement of human agency in American society. Both theological and grass-roots communities provide alternatives to the individualism of secular society. Attention to the gifts of theology and grass-roots organizing encourages the growth of a broader cultural imagination, theological attention to conflict and negotiation, and mutual accountability in receptive encounter with the other.

Affiliations: 1: Duke University USA, URL:


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