The recent increase in Christian political activism in the U.S. invites deeper thinking about the relationship between Christian faith and modern democracy. Two British authors lead us into these basic theological questions.
In her first book, The Preaching Life, Barbara Brown Taylor delighted readers with a seamless sewing together of divinity school memories, scripture, and ruminations on the beauty of the liturgical calendar and life in a congregation. That book inspired others to follow the call to ministry, as did the ten books that followed.
For author Harry Stout, the legitimacy of going to war (jus ad bellum) is one thing; the legitimacy of how the war is conducted (jus in bello) is another. The moral problem of the Civil War does not lie in the decision to go to battle—according to Stout, preserving the Union and eradicating slavery offered reason enough. He makes clear that he is not a pacifist and that fighting is sometimes a lesser evil. Rather, the moral problem lies in how the war was conducted.
In a culture supersaturated with information, overwrought and overstimulated by media, none of us is immune to the allure of truthiness. With our attention stretched thin and largely confined to the surface, we are forced back on our intuition, to some reflexive sense of what “feels true.” Enter The Da Vinci Code. With the benefit of hindsight we can say the novel got noticed because of able marketing, and because it played into the manic milieu of truthiness.