Reflection on Christian Service in Society

A local pastor calls me. She and her church are not particularly close to Westmont but she respects the school, and she found the Doctrine of Reconciliation course in a web search. She asks me to address a session of her church's annual retreat. The theme of the whole weekend is 'faithful Christian service in society.' The participants will range across the whole congregation: some of the church staff, some area businesspeople, some who work in the nonprofit sector (both Christian and secular), some students (including youth who do service projects at their schools and through other organizations), some stay-at-home parents, some retirees, and the like.

I accept the invitation. However, absentminded professor that I am, I realize a while later that I have double-booked the engagement. I cannot get out of my prior commitment. I am about to call the pastor and apologize profusely and lay the problem back on that unsuspecting pastor, but then I think, Nein! I know just the right person who could do this! And guess what — it's you!

Write an address to that church retreat group drawing substantially and explicitly on Benedict's Deus Caritas Est and Hauerwas' Peaceable Kingdom for the guidance of all those present at the retreat. You will want to sketch a coherent vision of faithful Christian service in society in terms they will understand. You will want to offer examples of both what you mean and what you do not, especially where members of your audience will be susceptible to misinterpreting you otherwise. Finally, you will want to show your audience just how your vision is or can become a reality for them.

You may draw on Newbigin and other materials as well, but only if you find them helpful.

Please keep your address four pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers. Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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