In a recent essay, Marilynne Robinson attributes the struggles of mainline Protestantism to preaching. She claims that the sermon, as the center of worship in the contemporary mainline church, is “pretty nearly defunct.” Is that true, and if so, why?
With her third book of essays Lamott has begun to divide her readers into two camps: those who need another set of essays on Lamott’s life and those who, despite appreciating her earlier work, have had enough.
After you have written books attacking Henry Kissinger and Mother Teresa, what is left, really, but to write a book attacking God—or rather, since God does not exist, attacking all who believe in God? So Christopher Hitchens, the brilliant bad boy of Anglo-American high-culture journalism, must have concluded.
According to Stephen Prothero, America is both “deeply religious and profoundly ignorant about religion.” Personal belief in God remains high. Americans say that their convictions shape their public behaviors, and most support the idea of religious organizations participating in public policy issues. Yet surveys show that the majority of Americans cannot name even one of the four Gospels. Only one-third know that it was Jesus who delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and 10 percent think that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.