Synopsis: When asked about his work for social change, one Presbyterian elder and activist sighed, "You always have the feeling that you're attacking an iceberg with an ice pick. . . . But still, some people do listen, and it does some good. As they say, even glaciers move every now and then." The work for social change is long, arduous, and yields only the smallest of results. What sustains religious social activists while they chip away at social change? This book examines the practice of social activism from the inside out, exploring how activists are affected by their participation in the public sphere. Drawing on the fields of practice theory, social movement theory, and theologies of sin and hope, this book presents an interdisciplinary look at a complex phenomenon, and concludes with proposals for the nourishment of social activism within the church. Endorsements: "Many books consider the church's social witness. This is good; social witness is vital to discipleship. Several books analyze that witness theologically. This is important; the church's theology makes social witness coherent. Few books examine the practices of social witness. This is regretful; understanding social witness practices is vital to their health. This book explores those practices theologically. This makes it invaluable. Jennifer Ayres has done a great service to the church--and, therein, to society--with this book, and I am deeply grateful for it." --Mark Douglas Columbia Theological Seminary "This is a breathtaking and refreshing work of original scholarship. Jennifer Ayres ventures out into the whitewater streams of courageous Christian social witness, and she finds here a practice fed and sustained by deep rivers of theological vision. This book will not only enrich our understanding of religious practices, it will also serve as a wise and encouraging guide to communities of faith engaged in social transformation." --Thomas G. Long Candler School of Theology "How can activists keep going when nothing seems to change? Jennifer Ayres develops a spirituality of social action by drawing on theories of practice, theologies of sin and hope, social movement theory, and, crucially, the reasons activists already give. Ayres shows how to knit social witness and theological reflection back together in ways that benefit both of them--and all of us." --Ted A. Smith Vanderbilt Divinity School "By approaching social action as a Christian practice, Ayres prompts readers to consider the ways in which social ethics is an intrinsic aspect of living a faithful Christian life. Her prompting of activists to think more theologically about how their actions deepen and nurture faith and spirituality makes this essential reading for pastors, professors, and Christian activists interested in Christian social witness." --Rebecca Todd Peters Elon University Author Biography: Jennifer R. Ayres is Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Director of the Program in Religious Education at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).