"e;The first thing to say in our exploration of priesthood is this: priesthood is a fundamental and inescapable part of being human. All human beings, knowingly or not, minister as priests to one another. All of us, knowingly or not, receive priestly ministrations from one another. Unless we begin here, we are not likely to understand the confusions and uncertainties and opportunities we have been encountering in the life of the church itself in recent years. We shall be in danger, in fact, of creating makeshift solutions to half-understood problems, easy answers to misleading questions, temporary bandages for institutions that need to be healed from the ground up."e; - L. William CountrymanThere is a lot of tension in churches today about whose ministry is primary-that of the laity or of the clergy. L. William Countryman argues that we can only resolve that problem by seeing that we are all priests simply by virtue of being human and living, as we all do, on the mysterious and uncertain border with the Holy. Living on the Border of the Holy offers a way of understanding the priesthood of the whole people of God and the priesthood of the ordained in complementary ways by showing how both are rooted in the fundamental priestly nature of human life. After an exploration of the ministry of both laity and ordained, Countryman concludes by examining the implications of this view of priesthood for churches and for educating those studying for ordination. "e;What a blessing to have at hand William Countryman's book, which, by disentangling ordination from real ministry, does an extraordinary job of clarifying what we mean when we speak of the church, of religion, and of God. I wish every self-identified 'person of faith' could read this remarkable, thought-provoking book."e; -Bruce Bawer, author of Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays ChristianityL. William Countryman is an Episcopal priest, professor of New Testament at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, and author of Forgiven and Forgiving, The Language of Ordination, Biblical Authority or Biblical Tyranny? and other titles.
Living on the Border of the Holy
Church Publishing Inc.
Renewing the Priesthood of All
Mind, Body & Spirit