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Graceful Courage: A Venture in Christian Humanism by Roger Hazelton


Walter Wink is the author of The Powers That Be (Doubleday). This essay appeared in Loving God With One’s Mind, by F. Thomas Trotter, copyright 1987 by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Used by permission. This document was prepared for Religion Online by William E. Chapman.


Introduction
Here we have to do with the very texture of lived and felt experience, as it dips and thrusts from failure to success with its perplexing mixture of wariness and boldness.

Chapter 1: Taking the Human Measure
Courage is a way of taking the human measure of oneís world. Being human implies and requires being humane as well. Taking the human measure means not only finding but also holding oneís place in the world.

Chapter 2: A Necessary Virtue
If morality is a late arrival on the evolutionary scene, its presence has still to be acknowledged and appreciated. Granted that virtue is the wrong word for describing rats in mazes or two chimpanzees sharing one banana; but is it not entirely appropriate for grasping what human beings do to survive in times of dearth, disaster, or other life-threatening situations? In such cases a sense of self-worth, or " Iím I" is clearly present, and also that rather frightening but bracing "freedom of choice," even if it is only the choice between living and dying.

Chapter 3: Courage to Endure
Martyrdom left its profound mark on the life and thought of the historic Christian community. Martyrdom and conscious imitation of the way of the cross are but striking instances of the stuff out of which all human life is made, with or without the support of a religious faith. Enduring courage enlists all oneís powers, bodily and spiritual alike.

Chapter 4: From Coping to Daring
Does not endurance, standing fast or holding ground, have a real gallantry, an élan of its own? Audacity and integrity, spontaneity and stubbornness, belong together in any inventory of the types and styles of human courage.

Chapter 5: From Fear to Faith
He to whom we belong is vere homo, who began life under threat of death, worked hard and long at his fatherís trade, encountered temptation and opposition, spoke out against authority, cast his lot with the oppressed, went steadfastly up to Jerusalem to suffer under Pontius Pilate, died, and was buried. His brief life was one long exercise in courage. God has highly exalted him, as witnessed by his resurrection, making him the way, the truth, and above all the life of those who take his name as their own.

Chapter 6: Beyond Humility and Obedience?
Obedience and humility are almost interchangeable terms, and both imply the same paradoxical idea -- that lowliness is the way to greatness. Brave and honest acceptance of oneself and others, warts and all, is certainly required and rewarded in a life that is fittingly termed Christian.

Chapter 7: Graceful Courage
Women and men of every age have borne eager witness that God is a very present help in time of trouble, discovering Godís presence in the midst of life and not in some imaginary Beyond. If their testimony has truth it is true for us as well.

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