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.
When United Methodist Church bishops condemned the U.S. military presence in Iraq, a fax arrived almost immediately at the Century from the Institute on Religion and Democracy's top Methodist watchdog, Mark Tooley. Like some kind of Methodist pope perched over the bishops, Tooley dressed down the bishops: "How woefully absurd that church prelates condemn the United States for attempting to build democracy in Iraq."For three decades Tooley and others at the IRD have been monitoring mainline churches for political statements that are out of step with the views of their rank-and-file members. When there's a gap between the views of church leaders and people in the pews the IRD steps in to take advantage of the controversy.