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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Robert McAfee Brown: Spiritual & Prophetic Writings

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Robert McAfee Brown (1920-2001) was an activist for justice on many different fronts during his life: civil rights, support of migrant workers, protests against U.S. policy during the Vietnam War, the ecumenical movement, Jewish-Christian relations, liberation theology, world poverty and more.

Brown’s father was a Presbyterian minister and pacifist, so he grew up in a politically progressive family that believed it’s the duty of Christians to serve the poor. Brown studied at Union Theological Seminary with John Bennett, a leading ethicist, and Reinhold Niebuhr, the most well-known and highly regarded Protestant theologian of the 20th century. Later he was a professor of theology and ethics at the Graduate Theological Union, eventually retiring in 1986. 

In this introduction to his writings, editor Paul Crowley sums up Brown’s unique theology as a vivid prophetic spirituality, where faith and practice, prayer and action, words and deeds, and religion and politics constitute a circle. This is a living and lived spirituality, not a recipe for spiritual comfort (Orbis Books).


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