The Acting Person and Christian Moral Life

The Acting Person and Christian Moral Life

Darlene Fozard Weaver
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 226
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2tt7bm
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  • Book Info
    The Acting Person and Christian Moral Life
    Book Description:

    What may we say about the significance of particular moral actions for one's relationship with God? In this provocative analysis of contemporary Catholic moral theology Darlene Fozard Weaver shows the person as a moral agent acting in relation to God. Using an overarching theological context of sinful estrangement from and gracious reconciliation in God, Weaver shows how individuals negotiate their relationships with God in and through their involvement with others and the world. Much of current Christian ethics focuses more on persons and their virtues and vices exemplified by the work of virtue ethicists or on sinful social structures illustrated in the work of liberation theologians. These judgments fail to appreciate the reflexive character of human action and neglect the way our actions negotiate our response to God. Weaver develops a theologically robust moral anthropology that advances Christian understanding of persons and moral actions and contends we can better understand the theological import of moral actions by seeing ourselves as creatures who live, move, and have our being in God.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-787-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    This book describes the person as a moral agent acting in relation to God. It depicts the acting person within an overarching theological context of sinful estrangement from and gracious reconciliation in God. To describe the way persons negotiate their relationships with God in and through their involvement with others and the world, the book develops its argument under the rubrics of intimacy with God, fidelity to God, and truthfulness before God. It discusses the meaning of intimacy with God with regard to the person’s self-relation in order to render the truth that we live, move, and have our being...

  5. CHAPTER ONE PERSONS AND ACTIONS IN CHRISTIAN ETHICS
    (pp. 5-30)

    Scripture refers to many specific sorts of human actions, often by way of encouraging or forbidding them. The Decalogue, for example, forbids actions like idol worship, murder, adultery, and bearing false witness against one’s neighbor. The books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy address a wide variety of human actions, including food preparation, robbery, treatment of boils, and remission of debts. In the letter to the Ephesians Saint Paul writes, “Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out...

  6. CHAPTER TWO DISRUPTION OF PROPER RELATION WITH GOD AND OTHERS: SIN AND SINS
    (pp. 31-64)

    The previous chapter described a shift in contemporary Christian ethics from a focus on actions to a focus on persons. It identified certain problems and deficiencies that result from either an insufficient or a mistaken sort of attention to the moral and theological significance of particular actions. A prompt turn to a chapter on sin may seem an inauspicious start if we are to respond to these problems. As we saw, much pre-Reformation Christian moral thinking and most of Catholic ethics up until Vatican II were not only act centered but preoccupied by sins (indeed, the acts at the center...

  7. CHAPTER THREE INTIMACY WITH GOD AND SELF-RELATION
    (pp. 65-92)

    Attending to particular sorts of actions (sinful or not) may and should alert us to their historicity, particularity, and provisionality. Properly mindful that any human action is historical, particular, and provisional, we are rightly modest, compassionate, and open to correction in what we venture regarding their import for one’s relationship with God. Too often, however, theologians invoke these features of moral actions to forestall or limit what we say about their theological significance; modesty gives way to an unfitting agnosticism, compassion gives way to pastorally and practically enervating subjectivism, and openness to correction gives way to anxious defensiveness about the...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR FIDELITY TO GOD AND MORAL ACTING
    (pp. 93-130)

    God has acted graciously on our behalf—in creation, in covenant, and in Christ—by offering us a share in the divine life. We respond to God’s initiative with our lives. Our response to God is more than any isolated deed we perform, more than the sum total of all our deeds. It is finally the self we freely fashion in the world and with others. And yet that self is wrought through our active self-relation as we seek to understand and respond to everything that we undergo.

    Chapter 1 considered Christian moral tradition’s early and enormously influential association with...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE TRUTHFULNESS BEFORE GOD AND NAMING MORAL ACTIONS
    (pp. 131-160)

    Truthfulness before God is a gift persons receive in their encounter with God in Jesus Christ. It is inescapably ingredient to God’s self-gift, grasping and claiming the person in reconciling love. Truthfulness before God is also a task, the task of a lifetime, inasmuch as this gift exposes the person in all her falsehood—her unbelief vis-à-vis God, her concomitant evasion of herself, her irreverent alliances with other persons and the goods of creaturely life—and demands instead a free response of confession, gratitude, and charity.

    Reflecting on truthfulness before God and its opposite, the sin of falsehood, extends the...

  10. CHAPTER SIX RECONCILIATION IN GOD AND CHRISTIAN LIFE
    (pp. 161-198)

    There has been a lot of talk about sin in this book—certainly more than one is likely to find in much of contemporary Christian ethics. There are risks associated with this insofar as talk of sin is regarded as coming at the expense of our appreciation of grace or an affirmation of creation’s goodness. Rather than signal misanthropy or a moribund worldview, due recognition of sin’s pervasive disruption follows from the grace-occasioned, worship-inducing, astonished awareness of creation’s beauty and God’s loving intention to reconcile all things, including each of us. We become aware of sin in the knowledge of...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 199-210)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 211-215)