The Citizen Christian

James Andrews presents an understanding of Christian virtue as attitudes oriented toward problem-solving and service. For too long, he contends, the notion of Christian virtue as a self-perfecting habit has been devalued into narcissistic self-admiration. Too often Christians turned in on themselves to cultivate “perfection” and ignored the needs of their suffering brothers. Such a course can no longer be accepted as in harmony with the example of Jesus or with modern man’s consciousness of human solidarity.

            The “virtues” James Andrews proposes for today’s Christian include “respect for creatures, dialogue that is more than talk, and creative insecurity,” among others. If the theology of poverty which underlies these attitudes has not yet been fully developed, this cannot excuse a delay in action. The mandate to create a just and peaceful society must take immediate precedence. The Christian must be a full-fledged citizen of this world, that is, of human society with all its demanding relationships and pressing problems.

            Mr. Andrews’ discussion of the concrete issues we face is straightforward and challenging—even controversial. From a position of involvement, he writes for Christians who are concerned and, perhaps, even fearful in the face of today’s problems. As Father Theodore Hesburgh writes in the Introduction, “This is a spirituality for Americans built on the solid foundations of service as prayer. It probes the many Galilees right here in the United States.”

About the Author

James Andrews co-founded Andrews McMeel Universal in 1970 with his wife, Kathleen Andrews, and John and Susan McMeel. He is the author of The Citizen Christian and co-author of The Perpelexed Catholic (with John Reedy).  At the time of his death in 1980, he served as board chairman and editor for Universal Press Syndicate (now Universal Uclick) and its publishing affiliate, Sheed and Ward (now Andrews McMeel Publishing). Andrews McMeel Universal is now the parent company of Universal Uclick (formerly Universal Press Syndicate), the largest independent newspaper syndicate in the world and and a leading digital entertainment provider of humor, comic strips, political cartoons, and other content for print, web, and mobile devices. Andrews McMeel is a leading publisher of humor, cookbook, gift, and general nonfiction as well as best-selling calendars and children’s books (through Accord Publishing).

In the late 1960s, as managing editor of Ave Maria magazine and The National Catholic Reporter, Andrews began working closely with Yale University student Garry Trudeau and soon after launched the Pulitzer Prize-winning Doonesbury comic strip through Universal Press. A respected, admired, and now-legendary editor, Andrews guided the writing of notable creators including Garry Wills, Dear Abby, Barry Lopez, Cathy Guisewite, Andrew Greeley, Tom Wilson, and Pat Oliphant, among others. He was active in a number of professional organizations, including the National Comics Council, the National Cartoonists Society, the Sigma Delta Chi journalism society, and the Kansas City Press Club, and was recognized by the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1967. 

He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and is the father of Hugh Andrews (now chief executive officer and president of Andrews McMeel Publishing and vice chairman of Andrews McMeel Universal), and Jim Andrews (vice president of licensing for Andrews McMeel Publishing).

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