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Article Title

Charity and Culture

Abstract

Ellen Joyce discusses what culture is and how it influences evangelization, inculturation, and ethics, paying particular attention to how it affects religious communities. She cites different definitions of culture and defines it herself as “the human landscape, the human creation, the human milieu in which we live.” It is challenging to become aware of how culture affects us because we take much of it for granted; even religious congregations share more with mainstream culture than they think. It is also difficult to discern the true values of a culture. Religious communities need to avoid assimilation while still being part of the culture around them. Just as American culture in general must balance individual freedom with “social cohesion and stability,” congregations must “resocialize their communities to honor anew the real relationships that exist within [them].” Joyce also explores the changing meaning of charity.

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