"Constantinian" has lately been a favored pejorative in
theological circles. The term--an allusion to the fourth-century Roman emperor
whose conversion to Christianity turned a marginal sect into a state religion--has
been used to deplore any alliance between the church and the state or, more
broadly, between the church and the dominant political culture.
I had an English professor who used to get
deeply annoyed whenever students would cite some literary passage but not
bother to quote it exactly. I recall him telling us, "Look, if you're going to
quote somebody, get it right."
When reports started circulating that Republican
presidential contender Michele Bachmann was a member of a congregation in the
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, I thought: this could be interesting.
all the books that might be read to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, one of
the most probing is by a law professor at Yale, Paul Kahn. In Sacred
picks out two distinctive political problems of our post-9/11 world--terrorism
and torture--and argues that they are parallel.
Dramatic conversion stories are the exception, not the rule,
in the life of faith. Coming to faith usually involves a gradual adjustment of
one's vision and habits, rather than the kind of dramatic turnaround described
in those oft-sung words of "Amazing Grace": "I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind but now I see." Life is rarely so black and white.
It's routine, as you get out your credit card in the supermarket
checkout line, to be asked to donate a few dollars to medical research. It's an
easy way to contribute--and who wouldn't want to help conquer breast cancer or
before Rob Bell's book Love Wins (see
by Peter Marty)
came out, conservative evangelicals lit up the blogosphere with their
insistence--against Bell--that God's condemnation of the wicked to hell is a nonnegotiable part of
A blogger at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America points out that some lines of Paul-Gordon Chandler's article on events in Egypt are unusually close to lines in a February 19 article in the New York Times—and charges that Chandler lifted them from the Times.
In the Feb. 3 New Republic, Alan Wolfe, the magazine's
go-to reviewer on matters of religion, seems to buy into the account of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that Eric
Metaxas gives in his new biography Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
used to be that the defense of Second Amendment rights was linked, at least
rhetorically, to the rights of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, who worried
that gun laws might deny them their hunting rifles or the chance to engage in
target practice. That concern--always farfetched--has come to look rather
letters of advice from a convert to godlessness, Eberstadt tells the
"major-league atheist guys" (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens et al.) how they need to firm up their