Seek the Peace of the City provides a robust engagement with the theological foundations and practices of Christian social and political criticism. Richard Bourne identifies a theological realism found in the work of John Howard Yoder. This realism bases social and political criticism in the purposes of a nonviolent, patient, and reconciling God. Bourne develops this account and shows how it is consonant with aspects of the work of a range of contemporary theologians including Stanley Hauerwas, John Milbank, Karl Barth, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In developing this theological realism, the book furnishes an account of Christian criticism capable of addressing key debates in contemporary theology and political theory.
Bourne begins by arguing for the public status of theological political claims. He demonstrates that only a vigorous theological realism, grounded in the universal lordship of Christ, is capable of providing a foundation for local, particular, and ad hoc practices of critique. The book concludes by developing an account of the impact such a theological realism and practice of critique might have on contemporary political theory—with explorations of the doxological nature of social change, the changing shape of the state, governmentality and political sovereignty, and the status and role of religious communities in civil society.