Review of Christian Civility in an Uncivil World

Note: This review was published in the November 29, 2009 issue of The Post & Courier. The reviewer the Rev. Robert M. Knight, pastor of First Christian Church of Charleston.

Christian Civility in an Uncivil WorldMitch Carnell, a lay leader at Charleston’s historic First Baptist Church, is concerned about a lack of civility in public affairs and church life. His concern has led him to edit an insightful book called “Christian Civility in an Uncivil World.”

The essays are written by notable church leaders representing various Christian traditions. John Gehring and Alexia Kelley are Roman Catholic laypersons who write about mediating and modulating too much inflammatory rhetoric and negotiating the politics of the church they know and love.

The Rev. Sally Dyck, bishop of the United Methodist Church, Minnesota Conference, draws on a distinctive Wesleyan tradition she terms “Holy Conferencing.” Dyck outlines an approach to negotiating and problem-solving designed to minimize the unfortunate consequences of a church life reduced to “winners” and “losers.” She has adapted this approach from Methodism’s founder John Wesley.

Another bishop, the Rev. Stacy Sauls of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, Ky., who is also an attorney, writes with notable pastoral sensitivity concerning the conflict in the church he loves and serves surrounding the matter of one’s sexual orientation.
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