What does it mean to be mainline Protestant? For some it means being Christian, but not evangelical, or not Catholic, or not a member of some other group perceived to be inadequate. Others imagine the tall steeple on Main Street, or the majority of the electorate, or some other icon of Christendom’s passing power.
Viewers don’t look to James Bond movies for profundity. Mostly they go to see buxom babes (now brainier and badder) and gravity-defying vehicle chases. But the most recent Bond installment offers some pertinent comments on technology.
Fleming Rutledge is the most interesting preacher today working the fault line between the mainline churches and evangelicalism. Throughout this remarkable collection of Old Testament sermons she calls for mainliners and evangelicals to realize their common identity in Christ for the sake of our mutual mission in the world.
“I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen how great Downton Abbey is,” I said in a sermon that was technically about evangelism. I was illustrating St. Augustine’s point that when people love, say, a great actor they tell others about him—and so how much more should we tell others about the gospel. A week later I learned how (un)successful that point had been. “I’ve watched every episode,” a parishioner said. “Now what was it you were trying to say about that show?”
One of the most interesting shifts in Christian theology after the Shoah was in how the adjective Jewish was used. In the patristic era, to call someone’s work Jewish was to insult it: the work was too fleshly or legalistic. Since the Shoah, to call someone’s work Jewish is to praise it as appropriately this-worldly, concerned with the ordinary stuff of life, embodied.
With William Willimon set to retire as bishop of the North Alabama Conference in
2012, it is appropriate to consider how the Willimon experiment in the
episcopacy has turned out. It has not been business
The Tenth Parallel
Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam
Eliza Griswold's book is a nearly perfect puzzle. On the one hand, she is doing some of the most important religious journalism being done these days. If God has, as one of her interview subjects puts it, "moved his work to Africa," then Griswold possesses a sharp pair of eyes for God's new work. It doesn't hurt that Griswold writes like an angel and has an eye for irony and detail.
A manifesto hardly seems like the right genre for David F. Ford. The
Irish Anglican theologian has made a career partly with the splendid
encyclopedia The Modern Theologians, a book regularly blessed by graduate students facing their exams.
On the way to meet a friend whose marriage, I'd heard, was on the rocks, I sifted through the clichés one can offer someone on the verge of divorce. But when I arrived, her husband was with her to welcome me. As we traveled around her campus together I noticed them holding hands (so rare on U.S. college campuses that you wonder if it violates some regulation).