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Gentle Shepherding: Pastoral Ethics and Leadership

SKU 9780827212503

by Joseph E. Bush Jr.


*Named "One of the Top Ten Books for Parish Clergy" for the year 2006 by the Academy of Parish Clergy!

Gentle Shepherding offers a rare balance in an introduction to pastoral ethics, one that identifies deeply with the pastoral vocation and brings it into conversation with a developed body of ethical theory. The goal of the book is to equip seminarians and pastors with conceptual resources for clarifying moral responsibility in the practice of ministry. This responsibility includes three levels: the minister as a moral agent in offering care; the minister as a moral enabler in encouraging virtue in others; and the minister as a moral leader in facilitating congregational life and witness in society. Helping ministers and seminarians to think anew about their responsibilities and the moral quandaries in pastoral practice, Gentle Shepherding integrates theory with practice, providing case material for further reflection and discussion and at least one case study or exercise associated with each chapter.


"A Comprehensive and illuminating account of professional ethics for practicing ministers. Gentle Shepherding creatively combines insights from scholarly studies of professional ethics with practical wisdom gained from concrete experiences in pastoral ministry. A valuable resource for pastors and for seminary students preparing for ordination."
—Thomas W. Ogletree, Yale University Divinity school

"In this timely and pertinent study, Bush probes challenging ethical issues in the professional lives and work of contemporary clergy and provides thoughtful guidance to clergy practice through a thoughtful examination of relevant ethical theories, lively case studies, and diverse cultural perspectives."
—Charles R. Foster, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

"In Gentle Shepherding, Joseph Bush has written a thoughtful and thorough text in pastoral ethics. Working 'from the middle,' Bush artfully weaves together a solid ethical framework with practical guidance for all dimensions of ministry practice. The book is attentive to the complexities of culture and community, drawing its resources from a multicultural perspective. Because of its broad applicability and its skilled use of cases and exercises, this would be a particularly helpful book for students in field education as well as for religious leaders already engaged in ministry. I look forward to using it in my classes in pastoral care."
—Christie Cozad Neuger, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University