I am tired of pretending that we want to hang out at the country club and eat cucumber sandwiches in fancy hats. We are not some sort of upper-crust elite society. Now, it's time to discard that tired label that ties us too closely with a particular race and class. It's time to call forth another name.
In discussions of Protestantism's winners and losers, what often gets lost is how much both liberals and conservatives have changed internally.
It has become cliché to note that we live in a world of information overload. Being cliché, of course, does not make it any less true. We professors are well aware of our inability to keep up with the fantastic production of new knowledge in our own specialties, yet the torrent of words overwhelms not only scholars but all readers. Who can possibly read all the books, magazines, journals, newspapers, blogs, tweets and posts worth reading? And what is worth reading, anyway? This deluge is often ascribed to the digital revolution, and indeed the internet and pervasive connectivity have greatly expanded our reading options. Nevertheless, the historically minded will recognize in our current situation merely the ongoing ripples of earlier information revolutions.
For Elesha Coffman, the pre-1960 Century is a window on the gap between an educated elite and a mass population of churchgoers.
One of my tasks as the Century’s online-editorial intern is to archive past issues on the website. It can be tedious, but it’s also quite fascinating to see various subjects develop in the magazine’s pages over time. At this point I’ve worked back as far as Christmas 1998, meaning the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal is front and center. I was 11 when that happened; I know the present-day Clinton everyone loves much better than the 1998 Clinton no one knew what to do with. But by far the highlight is reading Martin Marty’s old columns.
My files are full of stewardship sermons. So it came as a shock when people would say, “We know you don’t like to talk about money.”
The Century's subscription-only archives now go back 12 years, also known as four lectionary cycles. And we recently sweetened our online-only offer: $4.95 will now get you four weeks full access to the site, not just two.
About 15 years ago I was a guest at the annual meeting of the Association of Christians Teaching Sociology. In one session a professor reported on a student's project. Taking the Century as a barometer of mainline Protestantism and Christianity Today as a barometer of evangelicalism, his student compared the respective responses to the civil rights movement. The student found that the Century was very hospitable toward the movement and that CT was critical of it. (Full disclosure: At the time of this ACTS meeting, I was working for CT.) Since ACTS is comprised largely of evangelical scholars, there was some hanging of heads in the room. Evangelicals, they agreed, had been on the wrong side of history, not to speak of the wrong side of justice.