For religious communities to have integrity and credibility they must flourish as places of love and respect. Every aspect of church life is defined and protected by essential boundaries: boundaries around space, time, thought, speech, will, emotion, and behavior--both for clergy and church members. Lack of awareness and attention to boundary keeping diminishes the integrity of the church and harms its mission, whereas insight and vigilance about best practices lend freedom and energy to the calling of the church to care for others and to reach out to the world. In a flourishing Christian community, a wide array of boundaries must be recognized, celebrated, and navigated--from the boundaries that define and protect us as individual persons to role boundaries and the boundaries that define essential communal functions, such as worship.
This book is no conventional account of boundaries. It takes a comprehensive approach to the challenge of understanding and creating healthy boundaries. It applies the lessons from the emerging field of behavioral ethics to the rich and rewarding complexity of boundaries in church life, helping us to be more loving and responsible in how we think, speak, and act, so that the church can be true to its identity and mission.