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Open Friendship in a Closed SocietyMission Mississippi and a Theology of Friendship$
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Peter Slade

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372625.001.0001

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A Practice of Open Friendship

A Practice of Open Friendship

(p.149) 6 A Practice of Open Friendship
Open Friendship in a Closed Society

Peter Slade (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Mission Mississippi considers their morning prayer meetings essential to its work of reconciliation. Taking the claim of these Mississippi Christians seriously, and informed by the research into support groups by the sociologist Robert Wuthnow, the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the biblical scholarship of Stephen Fowl and Luke Timothy Johnson, an understanding emerges of Mission Mississippi's practice of interracial intercessory prayer that prophetically challenges the idolatry of the Closed Society and its closed churches. Participants in the prayer meetings form interracial networks that engage in the foundational practice of Christian friendship—listening graciously to each other's stories, and narrating them as part of the drama of salvation. In praying for the world, the fellowship of the friends of God identify with the other, extending to them the friendship of God at the same time as drawing them into the fellowship of the radical open friendship of Jesus.

Keywords:   Wuthnow, Bonhoeffer, prayer, friendship, churches, reconciliation, groups, Stephen Fowl, Luke Timothy Johnson

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