Called to Act

The Origins of Christian Responsibility

Michael W. Hopkins

Sep/2023, 240 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640656505



An important work highlighting the theological foundation of social action.

Christ himself lived in a time of immense social and political turmoil, as did his early followers. But can those early struggles provide guidance for God’s faithful in today's divided world? Episcopal priest and peace advocate Michael W. Hopkins proves that they can, tracing the origins of Christian responsibility all the way back to the indissoluble bond of baptism, drawing a clear line between those fraught early days and the turbulent present that Jesus commands Christians to engage in.

Called to Act peels back the historical and scriptural underpinnings of Christianity to exhume the social obligations inherited by all members of the kingdom of God. Through interpretation of Jesus’ words, works, and sacraments, modern day Christians can begin to reframe their fundamental outlook on and participation in the world, working as one to build communities of mutual care. Rather than allow differences of opinion or misguided attempts at neutrality to divorce Christians from the necessary work of political and community engagement, Hopkins provides compelling scriptural evidence for a new kingdom, united not by what has been left undone, but by what Christians are called to do for each other.

MICHAEL HOPKINS is a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester. Ordained in 1990, he served parishes in Washington, DC, Glenn Dale, Maryland, and Rochester, New York. From 1998 to 2003, he was President of Integrity USA, the principal advocacy and fellowship group for LGBTQ+ Episcopalians and their supporters. He is a longstanding member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and a member of Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission. His academic work includes three years of study in systematic theology and liturgics at the Catholic University of America and the reception of an MFA in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. He lives in Hornell, New York.

“A text to be read and reflected upon by adult converts preparing for baptism, parents bringing their young children to the baptismal font, and anyone seeking to better understand how they fit within this larger story of Christian belonging and living.… With the seemingly intractable challenges the world is facing, we need the transformational power of Christians acting out of care for the other, the stranger, and the common good. As it has been for me, I hope that you will find in these pages inspiration, encouragement, and strength for the journey.” —From the Foreword by the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

“Twentieth century prophet Verna Dozier gave us The Dream of God–a book that inspired a generation of the faithful to dare to imagine the world as the dream God intended it to be. In Called to Act, Michael Hopkins gives us a beautifully written twenty-first century guidebook, calling us to risk making that dream a reality by putting our faith into action. Grounded in solid theology and biblical study, Called to Act artfully weaves a narrative thread that draws readers in, challenging them to find in the rhythms of the life of Jesus the rhythms of their own lives. It is a master class on the “how to” of living out our baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being and an inspiration to anyone aspiring to make the kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven—not just a prayer we pray but a reality we live.” —The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Canon for Engagement Across Difference in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

“In his book, Rev. Michael Hopkins explores the meaning of baptism for daily living and, particularly, how baptism draws us into the corporate life of the community…Baptism, he declares, initiates us into a life that draws us out of ourselves and compels us to love the unlovable and to work with God in making the world new.” —The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, retired Bishop of Maine and Bishop Provisional of Rochester, NY

"Michael Hopkins invites us into a baptismal way of living. He helps the reader consider how to live faithfully in today’s highly charged political context, with stories that offer practical wisdom. His stories draw the reader into scripture, Christian history, and liturgical texts, showing implications for daily Christian living. Hopkins shows us that baptism matters, every day, not just on the day of one’s baptism." —The Rev. Ruth Meyers, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics, Church Divinity School of the Pacific

"Michael Hopkins offers superbly consequential commentary on Christian baptism herein. As he converses with the saints, past and present, who have informed his own life and faith, we are instructed that this sacrament of grace, acceptance, and belonging is also a sacrament of commitment to stand against whatever harms God's gift of life and love for all people and the earth. I commend this book to Christians and to all people of good will who seek to walk the way of justice and peace, love and joy." —The Rev. Dr. Melanie Duguid-May, Dean of Faculty and Professor of Theology, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

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