Can This Church Live? (Paperback)
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""Churches should be the backbone of our neighborhoods . . . Many American churches are faced with the decisions of their lives. Will we live? Or will we die? . . . the question of 'Will we live or will we die' is a question of will, as in having the will to live; and it is also a question of who is included in the 'we.'"" --from Chapter One ""The State of Mainline Churches"" Can This Church Live? is the true story of a church that had an opportunity to thrive in the midst of a community that greatly changed its demographics. Matthews directs readers through this painful process he experienced with the pastor and church leaders as they faced a harsh dilemma--a dilemma that more and more churches are facing today--can or will a predominantly white church embrace and welcome the people of color who live within the community? Using H. R. Niebuhr's famous text Christ and Culture, Matthews uses Niebuhr's five categories to analyze churches in crisis: 1) Christ against Culture; 2) Christ of Culture; 3) Christ above Culture; 4) Christ and Culture in Paradox; and 5) Christ the Transformer of Culture. The book also discusses moral and ethical issues as they relate to the Gospel and social transformation. Clergy and lay leaders will find this a valuable resource to help them discuss ways in which they can stabilize their church before they are confronted with a similar predicament. Donald H. Matthews is the director of Black Studies at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School.