In a time of increasing cultural pluralism and vast religious restructuring in the United States, Christian social ethics must take account of how values and commitments shape Christian communities. In Public Worship and Public Work Christian Scharen examines theological claims about the relationship of worship and ethics by means of ethnographic study of the life, worship, and work of three vibrant congregations.
Public Worship and Public Work moves beyond two caricatures of the relationship between worship and social ethics. Rather than resolute portrayals of the Church as a reflection of its culture and context and causal accounts of the Church's liturgy forming a Christian witness over and against culture, this book lifts up congregational identity as an area of dynamic interaction between worship, social ethics, and culture.
Chapters in Part One are "Liturgy and Social Ethics: Characterizing a Debate," and "Sociologizing the Debate: Identity, Ritual, and Public Commitment." Chapters in Part Two, Three Case Studies in Atlanta's Old Downtown are " 'People Living Church' The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception," "'Jesus Saves' Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, '" and "'The Church at Work' Central Presbyterian Church.'" Part Three concludes with "The World in the Church in the World."