Waiting in Christian Traditions

Waiting in Christian Traditions : Balancing Ideology and Utopia

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Christians wait for prayers to be answered, for an afterlife in heaven, for the Virgin Mary to appear, and for God to speak. They wait to be liberated from oppression, to be "saved" or born again, for Easter morning to dawn, for healing, for conversion, and for baptism. Waiting and the disappointment and hope that often accompany it are explained in terms that are, at first glance, remarkably invariant across Christian traditions: what will happen will happen "on God's time." A study of sources from across Christian traditions shows that there is considerable complexity beneath this surface claim. Understandings of free will and personal agency alongside shifts in institutional and theological commitments change the ways waiting is understood and valued. Waiting is often considered a positive state to be endured as long as God wills, and that fundamental understanding helps keep the promises at the heart of Christianity alive. Scholars have long overlooked the problem and promise of waiting despite (or perhaps because of) its prevalence. Indeed, there are relatively few mystics, few who have undergone "sudden" conversion, and few who have attained saintly status. Many, however, have waited, and that problem remains prominent-and its solutions remain influential-in Christian traditions today.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 204 pages
  • 158 x 235 x 19mm | 431g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0
  • 0739189395
  • 9780739189399

Review quote

Lucidly written and impressively broad in its range and research, this book presents waiting as an experience essential to Christian identity and the practice of faith. At a time when waiting is perhaps more denigrated than ever, Joanne Robinson provides a deeply thoughtful, well-reasoned commentary on the promise and power of waiting that will be illuminating for Christians and non-Christians alike. -- Harold Schweizer, Bucknell University, author of On Waiting We all know what it is like to have to wait, but do we really know what "waiting" is? In her wide-ranging book, Joanne Maguire Robinson turns an incisive eye on this fundamental human experience, one often ignored. Using resources from the philosopher Paul Ricoeur and a host of other thinkers, both historical and contemporary, Robinson has crafted an original and challenging interpretation of waiting as source of social identity and a way of negotiating the complex relationship between the "what is" of daily life and the "what could be" that humans live in expectation of, especially in the Christian tradition where waiting assumes a transcendental perspective. This is a rich book, a challenging book, one well worth waiting for. -- Bernard McGinn, Divinity School, University of Chicagoshow more

About Joanne Robinson

Joanne Maguire Robinson is chair and associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.show more

Table of contents

Chapter One: Ideology and Utopia in Time and Waiting Chapter Two: Ideological and Utopian Foundations Chapter Three: Advent Waiting Chapter Four: Waiting in Stillness and Silence Chapter Five: Agency in Waitingshow more