The humanitarian plight of Syrian refugees and the terrorist threat of ISIS seem likely to dominate the cable news channels for weeks to come. But it’s unclear whether Christian preachers will continue to discuss these issues now that the season of Advent has arrived. On the surface there is little connection between ISIS’s campaign of terror and a season that invites us to prepare for the return of Christ.
h richard niebuhr
Richard Niebuhr uses the metaphor of a shipwreck to describe those life experiences where what we thought would hold comes apart. A marriage ends, a career collapses, an illness shatters plans, a loved one dies. Pastors and congregations can be a lifeline. Our culture, however, is mourning avoidant—and too often, faith communities reflect the broader culture's misconceptions surrounding grief.
Of the rewriting Christ and Culture there shall be no end. Miroslav Volf is too sophisticated a theologian to rehash or imitate H. Richard Niebuhr's celebrated fivefold schema, but A Public Faith remains in the shadow of Niebuhr's defining work.