The Integrity of the Body of Christ

Boundary Keeping as Shared Responsibility

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Arden Mahlberg, Craig L. Nessan
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Cascade Books
    , May
     236 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


For religious communities to have integrity and credibility they must flourish as places of love and respect. Every aspect of church life is defined and protected by essential boundaries: boundaries around space, time, thought, speech, will, emotion, and behavior--both for clergy and church members. Lack of awareness and attention to boundary keeping diminishes the integrity of the church and harms its mission, whereas insight and vigilance about best practices lend freedom and energy to the calling of the church to care for others and to reach out to the world. In a flourishing Christian community, a wide array of boundaries must be recognized, celebrated, and navigated--from the boundaries that define and protect us as individual persons to role boundaries and the boundaries that define essential communal functions, such as worship.

This book is no conventional account of boundaries. It takes a comprehensive approach to the challenge of understanding and creating healthy boundaries. It applies the lessons from the emerging field of behavioral ethics to the rich and rewarding complexity of boundaries in church life, helping us to be more loving and responsible in how we think, speak, and act, so that the church can be true to its identity and mission.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Arden Mahlberg is a practicing psychologist whose career has focused on the interface between psychotherapy and spirituality.

Craig L. Nessan is Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He is the author of Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as Ministering Community (2010) and Liberating Lutheran Theology: Freedom for Justice and Solidarity in a Global Context (with Paul Chung and Ulrich Duchrow, 2011).


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