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Christianity in the Twenty-First CenturyReflections on the Challenges Ahead$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195096514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096514.001.0001

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Stories to Live By

Stories to Live By

(p.57) 4 Stories to Live By
Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Robert Wuthnow

Oxford University Press

As we reflect on life in the 21st century, we surely must hope that goodness and mercy will be preserved. Traditionally, it has fallen to the church to pass on such ethical ideals. In the future, the social role of the Christian will hopefully include an ethical life, a life of caring and compassion for those in need. But how can the ethical ideals of the past be transmitted effectively to the coming generation? Stories of brave people are a very important feature of American culture. People can learn how to be caring even if they do not have warm, loving parents who provide role models. In the American population at large, having experienced a personal crisis yourself does appear to be associated with being a more caring and compassionate person. What then is the role of Christianity in all this? An ethic of love and compassion is of course central to the Christian gospel. The stories of caring that we experience in our own lives are an epiphany.

Keywords:   Christianity, goodness, mercy, church, caring, compassion, parents, role models, personal crisis, love

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