Drawing on the wisdom and teaching experience of highly respected theologians, the Engaging Theology series builds a firm foundation for graduate study and other ministry formation programs. Each of the six volumes—Scripture, Jesus, God, Discipleship, Anthropology, and Church—is concerned with retrieving, carefully evaluating, and constructively interpreting the Christian tradition. Comprehensive in scope and accessibly written, these volumes, used together or independently, will stimulate rich theological reflection and discussion. More important, the series will create and sustain the passion of the next generation of theologians and church leaders.
Paul Lakeland’s recent award-winning books on the place of the laity in the contemporary Roman Catholic Church have prepared him well to take on this "ecclesiology from below." While paying close attention to the classical "marks of the Church," Lakeland's focus is on what we can learn about the nature of the Church as living communion by examining the values and practices of ordinary believers. Following the advice of Bernard Lonergan, Lakeland adopts a resolutely inductive approach to ecclesial reflection. He explores ten questions that the Church must address, both those that affect the internal workings of the faith community and those that have to do with its relationships to other groups, religious and secular. Finally, he offers a constructive proposal for a contextual ecclesiology of the U.S. Catholic Church that utilizes the images of hospice, pilgrim, immigrant, and pioneer.
Paul Lakeland is the Aloysius P. Kelley SJ Professor of Catholic Studies, and director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University. He is active in the American Academy of Religion, the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the Workgroup for Constructive Theology. His two most recent writings, both winners of Catholic Press Association awards, are The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church and Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church.