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Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World
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Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Can Christians act like Christians even when they disagree? In these wild and diverse times, right and left battle over the airwaves, prolifers square off against prochoicers, gay liberationists confront champions of the traditional family, artists and legislators tangle, even Christians fight other Christians whose doctrines aren't "just so." Richard Mouw has been activel ...more
Paperback, 187 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by IVP Books (first published July 1992)
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3.87  · 
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 ·  181 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Natalie Hocking
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book....I recommend it heartily.
M Christopher
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
This is a book that I recommend for ALL people of faith, especially Christians. Especially Christians because it is written for us by a leading Christian scholar. For all people of faith because we all so badly need to be reminded of how decency and civility are woven into the callings of our faiths.

Richard J. Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary, has taken as his topic the failure of civil society to be, well, civil. Like so many of us, he mourns the way in which political and religious dialogue
Adam Shields
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Short review: For all of the scriptural injunctions about loving your enemy and 'do to others...' Christians can be quite uncivil with people with whom they disagree. Mouw has the best book I have found so far about the how and why of being civil with those whom with disagree. This is not a 'be nice' book. It is a book that encourages strong beliefs, but also a high level of civil dialogue. It is mostly about being civil with non-Christians, but also has some good discussion about how to be civi ...more
Peter Clegg
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was convicted and has softened my black and white mentality to a degree. I recommend it to all Christians passionate for the truth. I hoped for more Scriptural and theological backing for his points. At times Mouw flirts with theological pluralism but to a degree he recognizes a need to stand strong for convictions.
Steven May
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Good concepts for Christians to live by. I struggle with the text but believed Richard Mouw message was on target.
Stephen Hiemstra
Our society has become much more diverse. Measured in terms of race, the number of non-Hispanic whites has fallen from roughly 84 percent in 1965 to 62 percent in 2015 [1]. Among children under the age of 20, the trend is even more pronounced. Stated in terms of perspectives, we are more likely today to meet someone with a different cultural background and point of view than at any time since the Second World War [2].

Rodney King’s 1992 question: “Can we all get along?” remains a serious questio
Susan Henn
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
5/2019 Very interesting book - pertinent and thought provoking. Written in the early 1990s and updated in 2010. The author, Richard Mouw challenges Christians to be gentler with others; to listen and learn from people with opposing views and ideologies. The author discusses ways to be civil, even when passionate, and suggests we not present a triumphal attitude when stating our own beliefs. He admits there are limits to civility and suggests we remember we serve a slow God - slow to anger and de ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very welcome book in this era of arguments, fighting, debates and open hostility. Uncommon Decency is a call to treat others as we would have them treat us. This isn't a book about being a pushover, but about trying to converse with others instead of yelling; a book about listening more and talking less. A much needed book in this day and age.
Jason Panella
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I generally l like Mouw's work, but I was surprised *how* much I appreciated this one. It could be how timely it feels (or, timeless—Mouw originally wrote the book 20-some years ago and updated it a few years ago). His basic gist is how vital it is to have strong beliefs WHILE also being civil, emphatic, and willing to listen and, in some cases, change or grow.
John Alsdorf
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An important contribution to the question of how Christians can constructively engage in all aspects of our society, doing so from a posture of humility rather than arrogance, willing to listen to, and learn from, those with whom we differ. Yet also to stand firm where that is called for.
David Thompson
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. Lots to think about. We can be decent. We must be intentional
Mar 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fuller Seminary professor and president, Richard Mouw wrote Uncommon Decency about the crisis of civility back in 1992. That bygone year seems like an eternity ago in the post-9/11 era of cable news loudmouths, Red States, Blue States, and economic meltdowns. Almost universally, people now acknowledge that things have actually gotten more divisive not less. Mouw does not suggest that Christians retreat or merely try to get along. Instead, he suggests civil engagement within proper limits. He dra ...more
Steve Squires
Feb 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
In Uncommon Decency Richard Mouw argues for increased dialog and understanding between evangelicals and other "polarizing" groups (polarizing to evangelicals). While affirming honest and true distinctions between groups, Mouw insists that dialog and respect represent the proper approach to interaction, rather than the common path of attack and vindictive behavior. Civility, in fact, is the model that Christ gave and therefore should be imitated by His followers. This civility will be compelling ...more
Taunia Piknjac Phillips
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the most inspirational and important book I have read in a while. Its guidance can help to navigate between the complexities and ambiguities of living in both in The City of God and the City of Man. The author writes with clarity, simplicity and true wisdom. I think this book is a necessary read for all Christians (whether evangelical or Roman Catholic) who realise that Christ is returning for ONE bride pure and spotless, not a harem. I am like the Christian from the Yeats poem who is fu ...more
Tim Hoiland
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, faith
“We were created for kind and gentle living,” writes Richard Mouw. But, he continues, “It is not enough merely to reclaim civility. We need to cultivate a civility that does not play fast and loose with the truth.”

That’s the core thesis of Mouw’s classic book, Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World (IVP). The problem he addresses is this: those who tend to have strong convictions aren’t often very civil, and those who excel in civility often lack a base of strong conviction. Ou
Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is just as necessary today as it was when it first appeared on 1992, if not more so. Mouw calls for a greater display of civility by Christians, both inside the Church and outside, and writes in a way that will be accessible to anyone at all interested in the topic. He encourages Christians to respond graciously in difficult circumstances while recognizing that sometimes we must part company with those with whom we disagree. Even parting company can be done graciously in Mouw's view, h ...more
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have not been reading much theology lately, and though this book was written in very simple language, it was still a theology book. As such, it took me a long time to make my way through it. Theology, for me, has always needed to be read in a different way than other literature. It takes longer to digest and think through, and so it should. I very much enjoyed this book. The author is much more conservative than I on the subjects he talked about, but I appreciated very much his willingness to ...more
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mouw lays out an extended case for and description of functional civility in the life of a modern Christian. The exhortation is to a moderation that is so rare in my reading experience that I frequently had to remind myself that he wasn't mincing words. He spends a lot of time making a claim, then explaining the myriad of ways it can be taking so far as to be of no use. This last observation means that it wasn't thrilling reading, but it did have its moments of encouragement and conviction.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although Mouw writes in an easy to read format, I found myself thinking that he is extremely intelligent and challenging. I believe this is a book that anyone should read especially anyone who finds him/herself in some sort of confrontation whether it is work, politics, family, or life in general. We followed up the reading of this book with a discussion at Church and we know that many of us don't share all the same beliefs.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, religiosity
A must read for anyone who professes a belief in Christ. Mouw, retired president of Fuller Theological Seminary and a practicing Calvinist Presbyterian, shares his thoughts on how to talk to one another about the real life questions that are so personal and subjective -- and yet remain civil with one another AND true to our own beliefs. He calls it "convicted civility."

This man has opened up my eyes in so many ways and has quite simply "rocked" my world!
Carl Jenkins
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mouw presents a great number of reflections and thoughts on the concept of civility that all Christians would benefit from reading. In a world and culture with as many different opinions, worldviews, and beliefs as there are people, how do Christians maintain their convictions about sex, politics, and other religions without running over others with our words? That's what Mouw addresses. There were certainly a number of times I had to stop and repent during this book.
Ralph Calhoun
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wish more of my "Conservative Evangelical" friends would read this. Mouw have many great points. I especially liked chapter 11 which dealt with the reality of Hell and our real limits of knowing just what it is. I started reading this just before the 2012 Presidential Election, and while it is not just about politics it does touch upon the subject.
Sarah Limberger
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The current cultural climate provides the perfect backdrop for reading this book. Although I don't entirely agree with the specifics of Mouw's views, I greatly appreciate the principles he outlines, as well as his willingness to tackle such a complicated topic. This is a book I predict I'll be coming back to many times in the years to come.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Read this for spiritual reading on a retreat. Many good and thought-provoking insights.

As a Christian, we often use our faith as justification for lack of civility or expressions of self-righteousness, even to the point of demeaning others. This is directly contradicting the message and spirit of Christ. "Love your enemies" has some very practical applications.
Joel Burdine
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One thought that passed through my mind when reading Mouw's book is that in our fragmented and pluralistic society, it would probably benefit us greatly if we wrote fewer books hedging in our positions and more on how to dialogue civily and compassionately (perhaps even Christianly?). Helpful, accesible read. Kindness and conviction.
Christy Martsolf
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant treatise reminding Christians that we can be fully loving and fully faithful only when we recognize all human beings as equally valued by God. Civility does not require a shift in the truth, but rather a deep respect for the humanity of those around us. Christians and non-Christians alike.
Chelsea Caplinger
Aug 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Not only was it bad because I was forced to read it, but he danced around the line and never actually got his point across which is very infuriating. I spotted multiple typos too, which was very frustrating.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
There is plenty about this book that I vehemently disagree with, however I think it is well-written and grounded in hope that people of convictions might find ways to communicate with more than civility. And it's good for my liberal self to be stretched by a conservative evangelical, on occasion!
Anthony Rodriguez
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very important book for our time. It's a fairly slow read, but an easy one. Christians need to hear its message.
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Richard John Mouw is a theologian and philosopher. He held the position of President at Fuller Theological Seminary for 20 years (1993-2013), and continues to hold the post of Professor of Faith and Public Life.
“I have no doubt that Mother Teresa would gladly endorse Kuyper’s manifesto: “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!’” She knew that Jesus has conquered sin . She believed deeply in the ultimate triumph of the cross . But Mother Teresa did not see the square inches Jesus has redeemed as territory that we must now triumphantly claim as our prize . She knew that many of those square inches are presently occupied by people with stinking, rotting flesh, by grieving parents, by frightened children—the abused, the abandoned, the persecuted and the desperately poor . And she was convinced that our “claiming” those places in the name of Christ means that we must go out to join him “in the distressing disguise” as he makes the agony of the suffering ones his very own . The square inches for which Christ died are still often very lonely and desolate places . And we must be willing to take our place in those situations, knowing that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us .” 2 likes
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