In a recent interview with the Century, historian David Hollinger talks about his preference for the phrase “ecumenical Protestants” to describe non-evangelical mid-20th-century American Protestants, instead of the more frequently used terms “liberal” and “mainline.”
“Ecumenical” refers to a specific, vital and largely defining impulse within the groups I am describing. It also provides a more specific and appropriate contrast to evangelical. The term evangelical comes into currency in the mid-century to refer to a combination of fundamentalists and Holiness, Pentecostals and others; ecumenical refers to the consolidation of the ecumenical point of view in the big conferences of 1942 and 1945.
I appreciated this shift in vocabulary because I have long disliked both the terms “liberal” and “mainline” to refer to whatever-kind-of-Protestant it is that I am.
A two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis has been growing more and more distant. Prospects suffered yet another blow last week when a government commission in Israel recommended that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank be declared legal.
President Mohamed Morsi’s decision to reinstate the dissolved parliament has set off a firestorm of debate in Egypt. Is Morsi fighting for full democracy against a military regime? Or is he trying to institute a full Islamist takeover of government? Christians worry about the second possibility.