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Hopeful Realism in Urban Ministry: Critical Explorations and Constructive Affirmations of Hoping Justice Prayerfully

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What, pray tell, does a faithful urban ministry require if not a triadic relationship of prayer, justice, and hope? Could such a theologically conjunctive relationship of prayer, justice, and hope fortify urban ministry and challenge students and practitioners to ponder and practice beyond the box? Frequently, justice is collapsed to charity, hope into wishful thinking or temporarily arrested despair, and prayer a grasp at quick-fix interventions. An urban ministry's steadfast public and prophetic witness longs for the depth and width of this triad. Via three countries' decades of endeavors, one chapter brainstorms urban ministry practices while another's literature survey signals crucial convictions. Amid many, seminal theologians are summoned to ground urban ministry intimations and implications: Niebuhr on justice, Moltmann on hope, and Merton on contemplative prayer. Evident is passion that fuels compassion in the service of justice, hope that engages despair, and prayer that draws from the contemplative center of it all--thankful resources for long haul ministry. The triad presses to illumine a concrete ministry's engagement of relentless, forced option issues yet with significant networks resourcing. Contrast-awareness animates endurance. The summary exegetes the original grace-based serenity prayer. Hence, hope vitally balances realism's temptation to cynicism. Realism saves hope from irrelevancy.

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"At one point in this book, Morris characterizes one who hopes as one who shows up. After a lifetime of showing up, all who share his passion for urban ministry--past, present, and future--will be grateful that he has showed up with this theologically serious, resourceful, and realistic reflection on the needed interaction of hope, justice, and prayer in the work of such ministries."
--Bill Blaikie, United Church Minister; Former MP and MLA; Adjunct Professor of Theology and Politics, University of Winnipeg

"This engaging narrative and analysis skillfully presents hope, justice, and prayer as a framework for examining stories about urban ministries, including Barry's own experience with Vancouver's Longhouse Ministry. Readers will be introduced to interesting experiences of urban ministry, and challenged to clarify their own assumptions about faith, justice, and the challenges of facing an uncertain future."
--Roger Hutchinson, Professor Emeritus of Church and Society, Emmanuel College of Victoria, University of Toronto

"In this fine book, Morris shares the scholarly thinking that underlies his inspiring work as an urban minister in my neighborhood in East Vancouver. This is a book to read." 
--Bruce Alexander, Author, The Globalization of Addiction

"Hopeful Realism represents Morris's gargantuan intellectual effort to find a suitable theological framework for his variety of activities--they range from Sunday service, "sharing circles," 12-step meetings, and bread distribution to endless meetings to network with three key organizations: the Metro Vancouver Alliance, Streams of Justice, and A Community Aware. That's just the tip of the iceberg! This book--perhaps it is his swan song--teems with ideas and is peppered with insights about how one ought to think about many intricate and practical matters of urban ministry. This text does not glide along and lull you to sleep; it requires close attention to Morris's creative and unique use of language (he even includes a few haikus) and cram-packed footnotes."
--Michael Welton, Professor of Education, Athabasca University

"Barry Morris is one of the most dedicated, thoughtful and experienced persons serving in specialized urban ministry in North America. This book is his testimony to what he has found to be the essential requirements of that ministry. Anyone involved in such a ministry--whether as minister, volunteer supporter, or as someone with supervisory responsibilities--will profit from reading this book. The range of sources consulted is prodigious and well-documented. The reader will be encouraged to follow the trail of resources to which the book points, and will find that path worthwhile. I hope this is not his last book."
--John Badertscher, Professor Emeritus, University of Winnipeg

"At one point in this book, Morris characterizes one who hopes as one who shows up. After a lifetime of showing up, all who share his passion for urban ministry--past, present, and future--will be grateful that he has showed up with this theologically serious, resourceful, and realistic reflection on the needed interaction of hope, justice, and prayer in the work of such ministries."
--Bill Blaikie, United Church Minister; Former MP and MLA; Adjunct Professor of Theology and Politics, University of Winnipeg

"This engaging narrative and analysis skillfully presents hope, justice, and prayer as a framework for examining stories about urban ministries, including Barry's own experience with Vancouver's Longhouse Ministry. Readers will be introduced to interesting experiences of urban ministry, and challenged to clarify their own assumptions about faith, justice, and the challenges of facing an uncertain future."
--Roger Hutchinson, Professor Emeritus of Church and Society, Emmanuel College of Victoria, University of Toronto

"In this fine book, Morris shares the scholarly thinking that underlies his inspiring work as an urban minister in my neighborhood in East Vancouver. This is a book to read." 
--Bruce Alexander, Author, The Globalization of Addiction

"Hopeful Realism represents Morris's gargantuan intellectual effort to find a suitable theological framework for his variety of activities--they range from Sunday service, "sharing circles," 12-step meetings, and bread distribution to endless meetings to network with three key organizations: the Metro Vancouver Alliance, Streams of Justice, and A Community Aware. That's just the tip of the iceberg! This book--perhaps it is his swan song--teems with ideas and is peppered with insights about how one ought to think about many intricate and practical matters of urban ministry. This text does not glide along and lull you to sleep; it requires close attention to Morris's creative and unique use of language (he even includes a few haikus) and cram-packed footnotes."
--Michael Welton, Professor of Education, Athabasca University

"Barry Morris is one of the most dedicated, thoughtful and experienced persons serving in specialized urban ministry in North America. This book is his testimony to what he has found to be the essential requirements of that ministry. Anyone involved in such a ministry--whether as minister, volunteer supporter, or as someone with supervisory responsibilities--will profit from reading this book. The range of sources consulted is prodigious and well-documented. The reader will be encouraged to follow the trail of resources to which the book points, and will find that path worthwhile. I hope this is not his last book."
--John Badertscher, Professor Emeritus, University of Winnipeg

Product Details

  • Title : Hopeful Realism in Urban Ministry: Critical Explorations and Constructive Affirmations of Hoping Justice Prayerfully
  • Authors:
    • Morris, Barry K.
    • Dickau, Tim
  • Publisher: Wipf and Stock
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • ISBN: 9781498221443

Barry K. Morris is a United Church of Canada minister in Vancouver, British Columbia, with the Longhouse Council of Native Ministry. He has been in urban ministry for forty years in five cities and two countries. He is the co-author of The Word on the Street (1991) and the Book of Rita's Living (1989); also, Engaging Urban Ministry (ThM thesis, V.S.T., 1999).

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    $13.20

    Digital list price: $24.00
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