At the end of the day, McCarthy's account is the far more challenging, far more provocative, and, I judge, far more orthodox one. Chapters 7 and 8 address familial love and relationships. The book deserves a careful read, but might be beyond the reach of many undergraduate students. Chapters six through ten address the economy of the household, using Catholic social teaching as a point-of-departure. Chapter five is the crux of the book; it moves from critique to proposal of a more open view of household relationships.
Following the cue of Karl Barth, whose criticism of Catholic doctrine was that is was really more a theology of wedding than of marriage, McCarthy explores the household as a "habitat" in which human lives are interconnected. Throughout, McCarthy wagers the "open" home against the "closed" one, a "New Traditionalist" as it were vision of household versus the thoroughly-modern suburban nuclear family the one, ironically, upheld by "family values" , to great effect. As I read through the text, my initial criticism was that the book seemed to focus on a model of suburban family life—a model which, according to the most recent U. If those "I know of no book on the subject more promising than what McCarthy has achieved here. McCarthy highlights the way market capitalism must use sex and passion to drive the economy, and explores how this use of sex and passion affects popular understandings of all relationships, including marriage. Chapters six through ten address the economy of the household, using Catholic social teaching as a point-of-departure. McCarthy's proposal, inasmuch as it centers around the theme of a hospitable locus for family life in American society, extends beyond the narrow confines of suburban life, and offers fruitful reflection on the relationships between home and the wider society, regardless of racial, socioeconomic, or political differences. Any theological exploration of sex and love in the home is thus necessarily truncated if it attends only to married households. Indeed, the strength of his treatment is the exploration of how the consumerist world of twenty-first century America affects the way people choose marriage and child-raising. The first three chapters of the book critique the market-driven emphasis on passion and sex in American culture. Chapter five is the crux of the book; it moves from critique to proposal of a more open view of household relationships. Chapters 9 and 10 turn to questions of gender and sexual practices. In place of this, McCarthy emphasizes the incompleteness of the household, its repeated sense of need, and the importance of necessity for the reproduction of the kind of household modeled on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Chapter four then turns to the phenomenon of the closed nuclear family as a result of this market- driven society. It will be of use to college libraries, particularly at campuses that have upper level or postgraduate courses in marriage and family life. Chapter six provides a thoughtful critique of the idealism of the personalist tradition, which has driven the development of Catholic theology on marriage in the latter half of the twentieth century. The book deserves a careful read, but might be beyond the reach of many undergraduate students. In so doing, McCarthy locates the theology of marriage not only in the world of Biblical exegesis and ecclesiastical tradition, but also in the everyday world of getting and spending. McCarthy focuses most of his theological challenges within the purview of Catholic discussions on these matters, but there is room here for Protestant approval. By the end of the book, however, I took a different view. He reframes a wide variety of ethical and theological issues regarding family life with incredible skill, and he addresses certain overwrought conversations for instance, LGBTQ matters by starting from a vibrantly different starting-point than any other writer I have heard on the topic. In fact, my sense is that if conservative Protestants wish any advance in conversations on sexual identity, they must recourse to the Catholic discourses on the matter instead of their own banal, modernist ones. Even moreso, I feel I have grown in a greater appreciation for the myriad manifestations of the grace of God, the ways that God uses His people - even families - to be witnesses of His life-giving power. If those sentences sound like too much to be pack into one book, then you've got a small sense of the density of this text. I find myself regularly questioning both my own selfishness as well as my familial selfishness "I want to do what's right for us" as a result of this book.
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