Churches, Chapels, and Desirable Residences

At a recent Sunday service, my church sang the hymn “Come thou fount of every blessing,” with its line “Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by thy help I come.” This is a classic example of a line that made wonderful sense to a Biblically-literate audience, who knew that Ebenezer was a “stone of help” [Read More…]

The Crisis of Corporate Evangelicalism (Part 7 – a glimpse at the future?)

What does the future hold for corporate evangelicalism? [Read more…]

Bringing the Spirit of (Medieval) Santa Back to Christmas

Every Christmas in the yard of a house not far from us stands a manger scene. The Christ Child rocks gently in his small white wooden manger; his halo glowing from the spotlight. Instead of Mary and Joseph gazing at their holy infant, or even angels surrounding the yard with praise, an unlikely figure stands next [Read More…]

Happy New Year!

While 2016 has one more month, the Christian calendar has already entered its new year. [Read more…]

Religions Dead and Living

In recent columns, I looked at what happened to a religion heavily focused on hierarchy and clergy when it was cut loose from those moorings – how in fact it reverted to what we might call a default kind of religion. I noted for instance the emphasis on sacred places and objects, on charismatic individuals, [Read More…]

The Passion of Martin Scorsese

After literally decades of planning and delay, Martin Scorsese has finally released his film of Shusaku Endo’s classic novel Silence, about the persecution of Catholic Christians in seventeenth century Japan. It looks magnificent. (You can watch the trailer here). In the New York Times, Paul Elie has a wonderful article on The Passion of Martin [Read More…]

Where Did All The Pagans Go?

I have been posting about a source on religion in Wales around 1715 , which illustrates how Christian communities maintain themselves when church structures and institutions have been removed. The author, Erasmus Saunders, tells us a lot about the rural society of his time, and its religious life. Almost as important, though, is what he [Read More…]

Augustine and Thanksgiving

In Augustine’s Confessions, at the end of a discussion of infancy and childhood, there is a beautiful passage about thankfulness. [Note the quotations that follow are from Maria Boulding’s translation]. Much of Book I baffles contemporary readers, who think that Augustine is rather too hard on himself and others. Augustine insists that the “only innocent feature [Read More…]

Trumpocalypse

Around eighteen years ago, my wife and I drove out into the countryside beyond Louisville to find somewhere quaint to attend church one Sunday morning. It’s not hard to find quaint churches nearly anywhere in rural America and certainly not in Kentucky. We found a Reformed Baptist church. It was God’s will that we did [Read More…]

Lincoln’s Thanksgiving: A Call to Gratitude, Humility, and Empathy

In the wake of a divisive election, we should revisit Abraham Lincoln’s original 1863 proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving. We’ll find not only gratitude, but the virtues of humility and empathy. [Read more…]