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The Prophetic Imperative

Social Gospel in Theory and Practice
Second Edition

Richard S. Gilbert

"This is not a how-to-save-the-world book, but a challenge to mind and conscience in the context of a church community. We have perhaps learned that true fulfillment has to do with both personal meaning and social responsibility. The two do not compete; they reinforce one another. We are in the process of learning that church social action is not a small band of marginal activists in the church decrying church inaction or seeking to represent the whole church. Rather, it is a congregational process of coming to terms with the mission of the religious community in a society that sometimes confuses the separation of church and state with the divorce of religion and public policy. This is a good place to be—within the continuing tension of piety and prophecy, spirituality and society, individual and community. It is through this tension that we will work out our common destiny. As we face a very "unbrave new world," it is imperative that Unitarian Universalists take seriously the prophetic tradition that has been so central to our history and faith."
—from the Preface

A fresh and much-needed look at the role of social justice work in our churches, exploring the connections between spirituality and social action and offering a historical review of our justice-making efforts. Helpfully presented in two parts: "Theoretical Foundations" and "Social Gospel in Practice." Discussion guide available on the UUA website.

A born Universalist, Richard Gilbert brings forty years of experience in parish ministry to the task of relating the church to the world.

Praise for The Prophetic Imperative:

"If you care about the future of progressive religion, if you seek to revive its impact on society, then you have opened the right book. The faith expounded here is humanistic, inclusive, and prophetic. Richard Gilbert is no mere theoretician. He is, and has been throughout an exemplary ministry of nearly forty years, a practitioner of the faith he advocates: publicly engaged religious leadership, seeking to help create what Dr. King called 'the Beloved Community' for us all.
—John A. Buehrens, President, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, 1993-2001

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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

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