Press for “No Religion But Social Religion”

Read the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s  recent praise for Joerg Rieger’s newest book, No Religion But Social Religion: Liberating Wesleyan Theology.

 

“The Publishing Office of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, released a new book that invites readers to rethink core concepts of the Christian faith in the invigorating, lifegiving light of grace that has the power to free us and change everything. “No Religion but Social Religion: Liberating Wesleyan Theology” was written by Joerg Rieger with contributions from Paulo Ayres Mattos, Helmut Renders, and José Carlos de Souza.

In the book, Rieger explores grace, grace that works in, and sometimes through, the grit of everyday life to liberate us and allow us to be in sync with the struggles of others around the world. The authors remind us that we all live with the pressures of life, but those at the margins of society struggle mightily. Too many of us, who enjoy some of the privileges of life, are preoccupied with ourselves, our problems, our idiosyncratic views of self and other. We cannot see the possibilities of life that lay beyond us; and without re-envisioning our self-serving images of God, we will never be able to formulate hopes and dreams for the future.

Rieger, Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair of Wesleyan Studies and distinguished professor of Theology at the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University, is an internationally recognized scholar and activist. He engages in questions of liberation, theology, and economics, addressing the relation of theology to public life. Rieger is the author of many books, including “Globalization and Theology;” “No Rising Tide: Theology, Economics, and the Future;” and “Christ and Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times.” A popular speaker, Rieger travels extensively, lecturing in churches and universities all over the world.

Mattos is the president of the Graduate Ecumenical Institute of Religious Science, São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil. Renders is an elder of the Methodist Church in Brazil and professor in the Graduate Program of Religion in the School of Communication Education and Humanities and School of Theology, Methodist University of São Paulo, Brazil. De Souza is an elder of the Methodist Church in Brazil and professor in the School of Theology, Methodist University of São Paulo, Brazil.

“No Religion but Social Religion; Liberating Wesleyan Theology” has received praise from scholars across the country. “Joerg Rieger tackles difficult, contemporary issues related to race, class, gender, and sexuality. He skillfully relates them to Wesleyan perspectives on sin, grace, salvation, and the role of the church,” said Josiah U. Young III, professor of Systematic Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary. “Throughout his book, he amplifies the voices of Methodist liberation theologians from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Graciously including edifying essays by José Carlos de Souza, Helmut Renders, and Paulo Ayres Mattos, Rieger’s ‘No Religion but Social Religion: Liberating Wesleyan Theology’ is a strong addition to his oeuvre, in which John Wesley’s legacy attains fresh, contemporary significance.

Bryan Stone, associate dean for Academic Affairs, E. Stanley Jones professor of Evangelism and co-director of the Center for Practical Theology at Boston School of Theology, added, “The theology of John Wesley, though projected from a historical past, is capable of serving as a living and dynamic force in the world and in contemporary theology. This volume impressively captures the voices of Wesleyan scholars working around the world on behalf of liberation and social holiness. The authors creatively and contextually reinterpret theological themes and ethical commitments in the Methodist tradition, breathing new life and relevance into each. I hope this volume will become a standard for those studying Wesleyan and liberation theologies and for those on the front lines seeking justice in the world.”

“No Religion but Social Religion; Liberating Wesleyan Theology” is available at Cokesbury.com and  Amazon.com. For more information about GBHEM’s Publishing Office, visit www.gbhem.org/about/publications or follow @GBHEMPublishing on Facebook.

Wesley’s Foundery Books is an imprint of GBHEM. Foundery books are clearly and accessibly written by Methodist/Wesleyan experts, with an emphasis on church life and ministry. Representing the rich diversity of the church, Wesley’s Foundery Books offer a disciplined and balanced approach.

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation.”

Original release is available here.

Recent Publications: No Religion But Social Religion and Jesus vs. Caesar

Two new books are out now! Learn more about Joerg Rieger’s recent publications here.

 

Jesus vs. Caesar: For People Tired of Serving the Wrong God

When we observe a tension between Jesus and Caesar, we acknowledge that a fundamental tension remains at the heart of Christianity. The tension is not between religion and atheism or secularism. Nor is it between organized religion and personal spirituality or between Christianity and other religions. The tension is located within the heart of Christianity itself because it is a radical conflict between faith that is life-giving for all and faith that is damaging and destructive of people and the earth.  This book serves as an indictment of the pieties of empire and their push for political, economic, cultural, and religious domination. Some forms of Christian faith (Jesus) versus other forms of Christian faith (Caesar). Whom and what will we trust and serve? Jesus embodies and exposes this tension in ways that transform destructive images of God, engender political and economic resilience, and model solidarity with others who are radically different, including other religions. This tension between life-giving and malignant religion is a critical opportunity for those who seek to follow Jesus instead of “Caesar.”

 

 

No Religion But Social Religion: Liberating Wesleyan Theology

With contributions by Paulo Ayres Mattos, Helmut Renders, and JosÉ Carlos de Souza, this book invites you to rethink core concepts of the Christian faith in the invigorating, life-giving light of grace that has the power to change everything. We all live with the pressures of life; but those at the margins, at the edges, the fringes of society struggle mightily. Our thinking about God, our theology, is rooted in the bloody tooth and claw of gritty existence. Those of us who enjoy the privileges of life are too easily preoccupied with ourselves, our problems, our idiosyncratic view of self and other. Without grace, we cannot formulate hopes and dreams for the future; and the church, as the community of faith, cannot make a difference and transform the world. Without re-envisioning our self-serving images of God, we exist as a people without a vision and many are already perishing. This book is not about religion or morality. It is about grace, grace that works in the midst of pressure to liberate us in sync with the struggles of others around the world for liberation. Thus we can authentically experience God and others in the midst of the everyday not just on the mountaintop.

Deep Solidarity: Broadening the Basis of Transformation

Across the globe, conditions of labor are worsening, providing both challenges and opportunities. As labor is one of the places where the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class is always at work, new models of resistance are created here as well. Deep solidarity describes what happens when the 99% who have to work for a living (including people who are excluded from the job market) realize what they have in common, in order to employ their differences productively in the struggle. In this article, a theologian and a labor and community organizer work together showing how the Abrahamic religious traditions and developments in the world of labor help us to shape deeper forms of solidarity.

Read the full article by Joerg Rieger and Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger in HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies.

Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: The Black Church and the Economy

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a speech in Memphis in 1968, wondered: “What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?” Rising inequality continues to be a problem in the United States, affecting minority communities disproportionally. How can communities of faith make a difference, and what might be the specific contributions of African American communities of faith?

Join us for a forum hosted by the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies.

Saturday, November 9th, 2017
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Vanderbilt Divinity School, Room 122

Forrest E. Harris
Associate Professor of the Practice of Ministry and Director of the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies

Joerg Rieger
Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair of Wesleyan Studies and Distinguished Professor of Theology