The community, courage, and compassion of the Christian sociologist

Dennis W Hiebert

Abstract


Christian sociologists are called to enter relationships in community, to explore spirituality
with courage, and to work for social justice with compassion. First, truth is neither purely
objective nor subjective, but rather personal and relational, and ultimately communal. To know is to become betrothed, to engage the known with one’s whole self. Second, truth cannot be realized without the courage to make ourselves vulnerable to it, whatever it may be, wherever it may take us. The courage required to open ourselves to truth must be doubled when we are subsequently thrust into the role of a prophet. Third, truth is not for the purpose of control or power, but for love, the act of entering and embracing the reality of the other. Active love of neighbor is not mere sympathy or even empathy, but compassion. Community is the context of true knowledge,
courage is the character required for it, and compassion is its calling.

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