In this book, Kevin W. Hector argues that we can understand Christianity as a set of practices designed to transform one’s way of perceiving and being in the world. Hector examines practices that reorient us to God (imitation, corporate singing, eating together, friendship, and likemindedness), that transform our way of being in the world (prayer, wonder, laughter, lament, and vocation), and that reshape our way of being with others (benevolence, looking for the image of God in others, forgiveness, and activism).
Taken together, the aim of these practices is to transform one’s way of perceiving and acting in the face of success and failure, risk and loss, guilt and shame, love, and loss of control. These transformations can add up to a transformation of one’s very self.
To make sense of Christianity as a way of life, in turn, these practices must be understood within the context of Christian beliefs about sin, Jesus, redemption, and eternal life. Understanding them thus requires a systematic theology, which Hector offers in this clear-eyed, ambitious, and elegant interpretation of the Christian tradition.
“With an uncommonly soft touch, Kevin Hector guides readers along a journey that is at once surprising and familiar. Brimming with wit and intelligence, with the confidence and conviction of one still learning all he has to teach, Professor Hector presents Christianity as a way of life in which falling in love with God’s good news, which demands and promises nothing less than the self’s transformation, comes off as the most natural thing in the world.”—Jonathan Tran, author of Asian Americans and the Spirit of Racial Capitalism
“Unpacking practices as varied and unexpected as corporate singing and laughter, Hector’s marvelous new book displays the fundamentally practical character of Christianity as a matter of being formed to perceive, respond, and act in harmony with what is ultimately true and good.”—Jennifer Herdt, Yale University
“A sophisticated and compelling account of Christianity as a salutary way of life rather than a mere system of coherent beliefs. Reading it carefully will be time very well spent.”—Miroslav Volf, Yale Divinity School