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THE SOCIAL EDGE INTERVIEW: AUTHOR CURTISS PAUL DEYOUNG

by Gerry McCarthy

book - living faith

Curtiss Paul DeYoung is a Professor of Reconciliation at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. An ordained minister, he has served at congregations in Washington DC and New York City.

     De Young is a long-time activist who worked at the Covenant House Times Square for homeless and runaway youth in New York City. He is the author of numerous books, including: United by Faith and Reconciliation: Our Greatest Challenge, Our Only Hope.

     His new book Living Faith: How Faith Inspires Social Justice was recently published by Fortress Press. I reached him in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Gerry McCarthy: In Living Faith you write that: "Faith-inspired activists live and practice their faith in ways that do not recognize socially constructed boundaries. They strive to transcend race, culture, class, and other artificial limitations. Mystic-activists do not divorce faith from political action for social justice; they do not separate present reality from a hopeful vision for the future; and they view the boundaries of religion as permeable." Can you talk to me about this? Transcending artificial limitations like culture and class is a particular challenge in Western societies isn’t it?

Curtiss Paul DeYoung: Yes –race, culture, and class are boundaries that most of us don’t cross with any regularity, possibly because we live such segregated lives from each other. That’s one thing that stood out as I looked at these folks I called mystic-activists. They seemed almost compelled to get to know people who were from different contexts in which they were living in. At some point (although I’m sure it wasn’t this way initially) they began to do this with great ease.

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