Keenan and Kotva, Practice What You Preach

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James F. Keenan, S.J. and Joseph Kotva, Jr., Practice What You Preach: Virtues, Ethics, and Power in the Lives of Pastoral Ministers and Their Congregations. Sheed and Ward, 1999.

Referenced in: Ministry Ethics

LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is an interesting anthology of articles written by an ecumenical community of twenty-two pastoral theologians and ethicists, though it is weighted toward a Roman Catholic audience. The authors ask how pastoral character is both reflected and formed as one faces various issues. Like most books in this genre, it approaches ethics from the philosophical category of virtue ethics – the ethics of being over the ethics of doing, that what one “is” guides what one “does.”

The essays cover a wide range of topics such as the candidacy process, self-understanding, relationships, power, gender equality, and justice. It includes enough cases to carry insight into real-life situations not directly addressed. Each chapter follows the same structure of a case study, followed by a discussion that focuses on the ethical virtues involved.

This is a good supplement to the First Reads on ministerial ethics.

From the Publisher

Calling for accountability, Practice What You Preach discusses ethical questions that arise in congregations and pastoral leadership. Formation of pastors, empowering leaders, resolving power struggles between clergy and laity these and other critical pastoral issues are addressed by an ecumenical group of contributors. Divided into four parts: the way the churches train their pastors; the way their pastors live; the way communities worship; and the way communities behave, this collection identifies and offers positive solutions to areas where churches are often slow to change. Each essay begins with a case describing a typical problem - from wages to in-fighting - and then discusses what virtues or character traits might be developed to resolve the problem effectively.

About the Author

James F. Keenan, S.J., has an S.T.D. from the Gregorian University and currently teaches at Weston Jesuit, where he is professor of moral theology and director of the doctoral program. Rev. Joseph J. Kotva Jr., is pastor of First Mennonite Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which regularly holds regional ecumenical discussions.

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