Churches “Pandering” to Millennials?

Over at the Juicy Ecumenism blog, my friend Mark Tooley gives some historical perspective on why changing theology to suit the perceived preferences of the younger generation is always a bad idea. While the church should never “pander” to anyone, the church does have a responsibility to “cater” to those who might be making decisions [Read More...]

The Urban Pulpit

Bowman cover

Two years ago, I posted an interview with Matthew Bowman, a preview of a book that has now appeared as The Urban Pulpit:New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism. A few quick thoughts: – Paul Putz posted an excellent summary/review at Religion in American History: Bowman argues that the fracturing of evangelicalism in [Read More...]

What’s in a Name?

Coffman

At first glance, books about religious magazines should not be especially interesting, yet I find  them rather irresistible. As a graduate student, I remember being very impressed by Mark Hulsether’s fine study of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christianity & Crisis. Now, I’ve just finished reading Elesha Coffman’s outstanding history of The Christian Century and the Rise of [Read More...]

Reforming Hollywood

reforming hollywood

Reforming Hollywood is a complex and fascinating book. “The prevailing view in histories of American film,” writes William Romanowski, “is that Protestants were determined to impose the rule of censorship on Hollywood, and for that reason they refused to cooperate with the [Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America].” For a detailed and thorough review, [Read More...]

Evangelical-Liberal Détente

Continuing in the vein of last week’s post on liberal Protestantism, I recently got my hands on the August 21 edition of the Christian Century. The biweekly editorial mentions the suddenly burgeoning historical scholarship on liberal religion (in particular, works by Elesha Coffman, David Hollinger, and Matthew Hedstrom), noting that it complicates the “question of [Read More...]

What’s Present is Prologue to the Past

Jennifer Schuessler at the New York Times introduces cutting-edge historical scholarship to the masses. Last summer, she published a piece on Mormon history, and this past spring an article on scholarship about American capitalism followed (that piece discussed, among other books, Bethany Moreton’s To Serve God and Wal-Mart). Most recently, Schuessler introduced readers to recent [Read More...]

End Hymnal Wars

HymnalCenterImage

Never agree to serve on a hymnal committee. First of all, if your church (like mine) is still using hymnals, that’s probably a sign that its membership (like mine) is aging and shrinking. Second, one can be certain that a new hymnal — or any new decision about congregational singing and music — will produce [Read More...]

Neutering God

Albrecht Dürer, The Adoration of the Magi, 1511

God reveals Godself… My ears pricked up during a recent sermon at a local Presbyterian church. I’ve heard “Godself” used by mainline ministers with some regularity since I went to seminary some dozen years ago, but I’m not used to it. I’ve long been fascinated by the liberal Protestant quest to neuter God. I sat [Read More...]

The Rise of Liberal Religion

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I’ve recently cracked open Matthew Hedstrom’s recently published The Rise of Liberal Religion. Hedstrom’s book is providing me with an opportunity to reconfigure my thinking and teaching on the respective trajectories of twentieth-century (and beyond) Protestant liberalism and evangelicalism. In recent decades pundits and some scholars have made much of the post-WWII evangelical resurgence, coupled [Read More...]


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