Books by Joerg Rieger
Jesus vs. Caesar: For People tired of serving the wrong God
When we observe a tension between Jesus and Caesar, we acknowledge that a fundamental tension remains at the heart of Christianity. When this tension is poorly understood, Christians face disastrous consequences. The tension is not between religion and atheism or secularism. Nor is it between organized religion and personal spirituality. The tension is located within the heart of Christianity itself because it is a radical conflict between true and false forms of Christian faith. Jesus embodies and exposes this tension in ways that illuminate both how God is with us and what must change for a world that participates in God’s life. This book serves as an indictment of the pieties of empire, whether government, corporate or any other forms of the faith that dominate and exclude. One form of Christian faith (Jesus) versus another form of Christian faith (Caesar). Whom and what will we trust and serve? What did Jesus disclose to the religious, economic, and political worlds of Israel and Rome?
This tension between true and false forms of religion is also deeply rooted in the Jewish traditions. The Hebrew prophets were gravely concerned about established forms of Jewish religion that appear to be respectable but result in oppression. The prophet Isaiah hears the voice of God pronouncing judgment: “You serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers” (Isaiah 58:3). True religion loosens “the bonds of injustice” (Isa 58:6) while self-serving religion is false religion.
This tension between true religion and false religion is a critical opportunity for those who would follow Jesus instead of “Caesar.”
No Religion but Social Religion: Liberating Wesleyan Theology
This book is not about religion or morality. It is about grace, grace that works in the midst of pressure to liberate us in sync with the struggles of others around the world for liberation. Thus we can authentically experience God and others in the midst of the everyday not just on the mountaintop.
Unified We are a Force
In this practical and theological handbook for justice, renowned theologian Joerg Rieger and his wife, community and labor activist Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger, help the working majority (the 99% of us) understand what is happening and how we can make a difference. Discover how our faith is deeply connected with our work. Find out how to organize people and build power and what our different faith traditions can contribute. Learn from case studies where these principles have been used successfully—and how we can use them. Develop “deep solidarity” as a way to forge unity while employing our differences for the common good..
Religion, Theology, and Class: Fresh Engagements After Long Silence
Unlike notions of gender, ethnicity, and race, the notion of class has rarely been reflected in religious and theological studies in recent decades. The few who currently use the term "class" think 'poor people,' 'social stratification,' or 'income differentials.' Commonly overlooked are power differentials, the tensions between classes, and the question of production. The essays in this volume discuss what new discourses on class in religious and theological studies might add to cutting-edge developments in these fields. Religion, Theology, and Class demonstrates that just like the lack of the study of class distorts the study of religion and theology, renewed engagement leads to new insights and broader horizons. The audience for this work includes students and scholars of religion and theology with various research interests, as well as students and scholars of other fields like economics, sociology, political studies, and cultural studies. Widespread classroom use is anticipated as this text is written in an accessible and engaging style.
Across Borders: Latin Perspectives in the Americas Reshaping Religion, Theology, and Life
While work in theology and religious studies by scholars in Latin America and by Latino/a scholars in the United States has made substantial contributions to the current scholarship in the field, there are few projects where scholars from these various contexts are working together. Across Borders: Latin Perspectives in the Americas Reshaping Religion, Theology, and Life is unique, as it brings leading scholars from both worlds into the conversation. The chapters of this book deal with the complexities of solidarity, the intersections of the popular and the religious, the example of Afro-Cubanisms, the meaning of popular liberation struggles, Hispanic identity formation at the U.S. border, and the unique promise of studying religion and theology in the tensions between North and South in the Americas.
Occupy Religion: Theology of the Multitude (Religion in the Modern World)
Occupy Religion introduces readers to the growing role of religion in the Occupy Movement and asks provocative questions about how people of faith can work for social justice. From the temperance movement to the Civil Rights movement, churches have played key roles in important social movements, and Occupy Religion shows this role is no less critical today.
From the journey of Abraham to the travels of Jesus and Paul, from medieval pilgrims to today's global trekkers, travel has held deep religious significance. In fact, says Joerg Rieger, traveling can be seen as a metaphor for the whole Christian life, especially pertinent in an age of global connectedness, widespread international travel, and religious encounter. Rieger's historical and theological reflections offer concrete ways in which travel can open up fresh encounters with meaning and, ultimately, the divine.
Beyond the Spirit of Empire
In Beyond the Spirit of Empire, the authors analyze the global empire not only in its political and economic dimensions, but also in its symbolic constructions of power and in its general assumptions often taken for granted. How does empire mould human subjectivity, for instance, and how does it affect the understanding of humans within the whole of creation? What are the religious dimensions of empire, its claims to divine attributes like omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, eternity, and what about its alleged exclusiveness and pervasiveness that destroys human life and freedom, which turns politics into a banal matter? The authors propose to look beyond empire to the possibility of politics and freedom, to the recovery of the notion of people, to the importance of ongoing concern for the oppressed and excluded, and to a messianic faith that allows us to live in anticipation, though ambiguously, of the promise of new times to come.
Grace Under Pressure
Distancing himself from liberals and conservatives but also pointing to the uselessness of a middle way, Rieger explores the theology of grace in situations of human pressure. Following John Wesley in his move to consider the 'works of mercy' as part of the means of grace, the author proposes to us a relational concept of grace that will prosper in dialogue and solidarity with those in distress, the oppressed 'other' who make present the gracious 'Other.'
Globalization and Theology
Globalization is a catchword of our time, referring to the interdependence that affects us all. But we often meet globalization with extreme ambivalence, recognizing that it has both positive and negative consequences for economics, politics, and culture. Joerg Rieger makes the point that even theology, itself, can be a manifestation of globalization. At its worst, theology can reflect Western intellectual imperialism and at its best, theology can encourage a compelling vision of diversity within unity. The author articulates a theology of globalization as a diverse phenomenon that respects different ways of seeing and knowing, thus encouraging harmony rather than homogeny.
No Rising Tide
Even though economic downturns are still followed by upturns, fewer people benefit from them. As a result, economic crisis is an everyday reality that permanently affects all levels of our lives. The logic of downturn, developed in this book, helps make sense of what is going on, as the economy shapes us more deeply than we had ever realized, not only our finances and our work, but also our relationships, our thinking, and even our hopes and desires. Religion is one arena shaped by economics and thus part of the problem but, as Joerg Rieger shows, it might also hold one of the keys for providing alternatives, since it points to energies for transformation and justice. Rieger's hopeful perspective unfolds in stark contrast to an economy and a religion that thrive on mounting inequality and differences of class.
Empire and the Christian Tradition: New Readings of Classical Theologians
Distinguished theologians assess the achievements and legacies of thirty- one theological giants in light of Christianity's engagement with imperial power, conquest, colonization, and post colonial themes. A unique textbook anthology ideal for classroom use.
Christ and Empire
Although we loathe admitting it, Christians have often, through crusade, conquest, and commerce, used the name and power of Christ to promote and justify political, economic, and even military gain. Rieger's ambitious and faith-filled project chips away at the colonial legacy of Christology to find the authentic Christ - or rather the many authentic depictions of Christ in history and theology that survive our self-serving domestications. Against the seeming inevitability of globalized unfairness, Rieger holds up a stumbling block that confounds even empire.
Methodist and Radical: Rejuvenating a Tradition
The thoughts and beliefs of John Wesley and the Early Methodist traditions are frequently related to recent progressive tendencies in theology. There are numerous parallels between contemporary interests in people at the margins and Wesley's concern for poor people and his commitments to the sick and imprisoned. In this volume, contributors from diverse backgrounds in the United States and around the globe reflect on radical and liberation traditions in Methodism in their own context. In conversation with contemporary Methodism and the Wesleyan heritage, each chapter focuses on the question of how radical and liberation traditions provide new visions for the present and future of the church.
Contributors: Jose Miguez Bonino, Rebecca S. Chopp, Stephen G. Hatcher, Jione Havea, Theodore Jennings, Jr., Cedric Mayson, Mercy Amba Oduyoye, Andrew Sung Park, Jong Chun Park, Harold J. Recinos, Joerg Rieger, John J. Vincent, and Josiah U. Young, III.
Opting for the Margins: Postmodernity and Liberation in Christian Theology
The essays in this volume show how some forms of postmodern thought and theology can mask patterns of oppression and provide an excuse for deafness to voices from the margins. The authors, writing from a wide variety of national, ethnic, and theological perspectives, seek to revive the preferential option for the poor for the postmodern world, showing how options for the margins can engage postmodernity in new ways and break new ground in religious, theological, and ethical, as well as social, political, and economic thinking. The essays connect philosophical and theological arguments to the concrete realities of the postmodern world and to uncover new sources of energy in the life and death struggles of people across the globe.
God and the Excluded: Visions and Blindspots in Contemporary Theology
Rieger offers an enlightening way to understand the chief strands or options in theology today and a valuable proposal for resituating theology around the crucial issue of inclusion. He sees four competing vectors at work in Christian today's theology: Theology of Identity, Theology of Difference, Theology and the Postmodern and Theology and the Underside.
Theology from the Belly of the Whale (Frederick Herzog Reader)\
The late Frederick Herzog never stopped reminding the church and theology to listen to those who had been left out of their influential ranks. This reminder is the thread that holds together Herzog's work, which has been brought together here in a single volume for the first time.
Remember the Poor: The Challenge to Theology in the Twenty-First Century
Even as capitalism claims victory, the reality of poverty, suffering, and pain continues to grow throughout the world, including the "first world." This book explores the challenge to theology of the increasingly emphatic cries of people at the margins.The first part of the book rereads the theological spectrum from a position that includes the poor. Liberal Protestant theologies in North American and Roman Catholic variations of modern theology in Latin America are examined from the perspective of the underside of history framed by Jacques Lacan’s notion of imaginary and symbolic orders.The second part introduces the Lacanian notion of the real, setting the stage for the role the marginalized might play in the future of theology. The progressive integration of the voice of those at the margins is then traced in the theological works of Frederick Herzog (North America) and Gustavo Gutiérrez (Latin America).The final part draws together the most important elements of a new theological paradigm that grow out an encounter with the underside of history and its implications for a new theology and new theologians. Jeorg Rieger teaches systematic theology at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.
Liberating the Future
What are the prospects for liberation theology and the social change it espouses? What can liberation theologies learn from each other?Writing from a variety of social locations the African American community, the feminist struggle, and tensions within Europe, North America, and Latin America these exciting and enlightening thinkers reflect on the vastly changed context of and challenges to liberation. Yet they find common concerns and cause. They espouse religious reflection that attends closely to those pushed to the margins (even though on the surface things seem to be improving), to shifting structures of oppression, and especially to global economic structures as they affect specific locales. For all those interested in the survival and growth of justice-oriented religious commitment, this volume signals concrete and exciting new directions for thought and action.
Faith on the Road: A Short Theology of Travel & Justice
Millions of people travel every day, for what seem like millions of reasons. Some travel for pleasure, others travel for work and education, and many more travel to find a new job and a better life. In the United States, even those who don't travel far still frequently find themselves on the move. What can we learn from these different forms of travel? And what can people of faith learn from the Christian and Jewish traditions that took shape on the road? From the exile from Eden to the wanderings of Jesus and his disciples, the story of Scripture is a dynamic narrative of ceaseless movement. Those who let themselves be inspired by this movement, and are willing to learn from others and from mistakes made in the process, are well positioned to make a difference in the world, not only at home but also around the globe. In this revised edition of the author's book Traveling, Joerg Rieger reflects on how Christian faith reorients the way we think about and make journeys in our lives .