There is a modern concern to make early Christian “patristic” texts relevant in modern social dialogue, but such a cross-disciplinary venture presents certain interpretive challenges for “reading between the lines” in such texts. This chapter sets the tone of creative narrative based on stories from the past and present with a brief opening reflection on modern Whitby, England—home to St. Hilda and the early Christian historian St. Bede—moving from there to the issue of responses to need in the Christian tradition. Topic and issues that will be discussed throughout the book are outlined and introduced. The book's methodology, “empathic remembering,” is defined. It offers four specific guidelines for constructive reading of such texts and how to think about issues of context and vocabulary. The chapter ends by defining the three “bridging paradigms” used throughout the book: sensing need, sharing the world, and embodying sacred kingdom.
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