Fortress Press

Radical Friendship: The Politics of Communal Discernment

Radical Friendship

The Politics of Communal Discernment

Ryan Andrew Newson (Author)

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In a society that is increasingly marked by apathy, division, and moral incompetence, how might Christians set about working with others in such a way as to begin to address those challenges that seem to overwhelm our capacity to respond? In Radical Friendship, Ryan Newson argues that the often-neglected practice of communal discernment provides a path to faithful political engagement that is worthy of reconsideration, especially given its ability to create authentic friendships both within and beyond the church. Such friendships, Newson maintains, are capable of fostering a type of competence in people who engage the practice that can counteract those social, political forces that are antithetical to competence’s formation.

Uniquely, Newson explores the contours of communal discernment as a practice that is especially relevant to Christians seeking radical democratic alternatives to political liberalism. Communal discernment is shown to be capable of generating conscientious participation in grassroots politics; additionally, this practice enables Christians to enjoy reciprocal, discerning relationships with people of differing convictional communities. Indeed, communal discernment turns out to be capable of preparing Christians to recognize and celebrate analogues to the practice in the world at large.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9781506420318
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 240
  • Publication Date April 1, 2017

Contents

Introduction
1. Incompetence, Liberalism, and Democracy
2. Outline of the Promise of a Practice
3. Power, Discernment, and the Politics of Binding and Loosing
4. Practical Matters
5. Radical Friendship
Bibliography

Interviews

Interview with Ryan Andrew Newson on the Radical Discipleship blog
"Radical Friendship in the Age of Trump": Interview with Ryan Andrew Newson on the Homebrewed Christianity podcast

Endorsements

Some may doubt there can be an Anabaptist political theology, but in this creative book Newson has decisively challenged that presumption.

"Some may doubt there can be an Anabaptist political theology, but in this creative book Newson has decisively challenged that presumption. Writing with a confidence only someone well acquainted with political theology could have, Newson offers a constructive alternative for the renewal of democratic practice. Hopefully this book will be widely read."

Stanley Hauerwas | Duke University

Deeply theological, radically democratic, and profoundly practical, this is a book for our time.

"Ryan Andrew Newson’s remarkable study of Anabaptist communal discernment masterfully slices through the Niebuhrian knots that tangle up many, if not most, theological ethicists. In doing so he accomplishes that rare thing: adding something genuinely and refreshingly new to tired old arguments over the relationship between Christianity and democracy. Deeply theological, radically democratic, and profoundly practical, this is a book for our time."

Peter Dula | Eastern Mennonite University
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