The term world Christianity has been widely used since the publication of Philip Jenkins’s 2002 best seller The Next Christendom, but in popular usage it has tended to refer only to Christianity in the Global South. Though courses on world Christianity have proliferated, no one until Douglas Jacobsen has taken the care to delineate the contours of the entire global movement.
I dreamed of meeting Adam in heaven. He wasn't hard to recognize; he looked like my great-uncle Harold, with the weight of his years melted off.
Some two decades before Robert Bellah and his colleagues wrote the seminal 1985 book Habits of the Heart, which improved the public conversation about religion and society in the United States, Bellah penned a provocative essay called “Religious Evolution.” He has finally returned to that ambitious theme.
Why did I spend three and a half days of my life watching all 87 episodes of a soapy spy serial? For Jesus, of course. Also because it's a provocative and relevant series.
Alain de Botton is offiicially enthusiastic, but his book is wistful. Atheists who pick it up may find themselves undergoing a crisis of faithlessness.
Margaret Farley’s Just Love: A Framework for a Christian Sexual Ethics is at #16 on the current Amazon sales list. When is the last time a sane, scholarly, carefully argued and theologically rich book of sexual ethics ranked that high? I don’t know, but I can’t imagine it was recent. (Four out of the top five on the Amazon list are versions of Fifty Shades of Gray. If only those readers would open up Farley!) To make matters even stranger, the book is six years old and used mostly in seminaries and at religious institutions. The flurry of interest was provoked by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
I once went on a blind date. He was a law student, a friend of a friend, and I was a seminarian. We met for drinks. He was nice, funny. He was a self-identifying Christian--the first one, actually, I had ever gone out with. We were talking about our chosen professions; he was, as many are, fascinated by the idea of a call to ministry. My call story is not exactly dramatic, but it has a social justice edge, forged on youth group mission trips and in researching poverty. “I want to make the world a better place,” I told the date. The future lawyer looked at me and asked, “But isn’t the world a fallen place?”
It’s tempting to dismiss SBNRs as salad-bar spiritualists concerned primarily with themselves. But many assumptions about this group are off target.
While Christian scholars have long questioned body-soul dualism, it remains common in church circles. This may finally be changing.
Reconciliation requires relocation. To see the effects of our food choices, we have to get close to the land.