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Transforming Liberalism: The Theology of James Luther Adams, now available on Kindle e-book

February 18, 2017

Transforming Liberalism: The Theology of James Luther Adams (Boston: Skinner House, 2005) is now available on Amazon Kindle as an e-book @ $6.  A bargain!  The book systematizes the notoriously un-systematic Adams, generally regarded as the most important Unitarian Universalist theologian and ethicist of the twentieth century.  The structure and contents of the book follow Adams’s themes, and the citations from Adams, including the stories for which he was famous, convey the character and charisma of the man.

The contents of the book are conveyed by the chapter title (keyed to an Adams quote) and, to convey a sense of the content, sub-chapter headings.  Adams’s characteristic dialectic– running from being to confronting to renewing–structures the whole.

Introduction– The impact of Adams’s thought; Theology in a prophetic key; “Liberalism is dead, Long Live Liberalism!”

I. Being Religious: “The Intimate and the Ultimate”– Religious consciousness; All are theologians; The Loss of the sacred; Being born anew; Cryastalizing religious understanding

II. Being Human: “The Primacy of the Will”-The Mystery of Human Freedom; Against Angelism; Tragic History; Metanoia; Identity Formation

III. Confronting the Demonic: “Blessed are the powerful”–Power, the mark of the real; The Demonic; Contemporary idolatry; Worldliness and otherworldliness; The courage to confront evil

IV. Confronting Injustice: “By their groups you shall know them”–The moral imperative; The prophetic tradition; The institutionalization of prophetic faith; Voluntary associations; The human vocation

V. Renewing Community: “The coveant of being”–The meaning and the use of covenants; Covenants constitute history; Toward an inclusive covenant; Covenant as creation in time; Covenant, grace, and peace

VI. Renewing Faith: “Taking time seriously”–The inescapablity of faith; Paradoxical faith; Meaning in history; The personalization of faith; Redeeming time







5 Comments leave one →
  1. John Eichrodt permalink
    February 18, 2017 3:23 am

    Dear Kim,

    Thanks for the posting. Active over here in Basel, Switzerland. Next workshop, extension of exploration of conscience and democracy (interfaith). The subject tends to overwhelm us. Creeping in the shadows is our new buzz word: covenant this and covenant that.

    And some unanswered questions: Why did the Universalists really join the Unitarians? Was it because they were on the path to extinction?

    And what is the degree of tension between the concept of ‘person’ and the dynamics of ‘covenant’ in our UU communities?.

    Any thoughts, and we will be glad to share them at our next workshop in Basel (4th Sunday of everymonth). (Rasor is coming in June ….. an enormous treat for us).

    • February 18, 2017 10:33 am

      Hello, John! The index to my book carries many entries for “covenant,” none for “person.” But Adams would surely agree that “the person in community”–in right relation with others, upheld by implicit or explicit covenants–should displace the old rugged individualist, or the Emersonian, idea of personhood. Your “covenant this and covenant that” comment suggests we’re in danger of turning “covenant” into a panacea. We need to go much deeper, here. See Adams on “the covenant of being.” GKB

  2. Dave Perkins permalink
    February 18, 2017 2:11 pm

    Thanks for the announcement of the kindle version of “Transforming Liberalism:…..” Of course I have the paper back version which is a remarkable book. Have you added anything to kindle version? It’s been a few year since I have communicated but again I always appreciate your efforts. Thanks. Dave Perkins

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