Early Jesus-followers as a Hodgepodge of Competing Christianities: Rethinking a Popular Thesis

If you could travel back in time to the year 100 to visit several of the small Christian communities scattered across the Mediterranean world, what would you find?Separate clusters of squabbling devotees with wildly divergent ideas of what it means to be Christian? A loose network of communities with a lot of love for each other but only fuzzy ideas about Jesus? Or perhaps tight-knit churches with standardized rites and a strong sense of belonging to the Catholic Church?A perspective … [Read more...]

As It Is in Heaven

At some point in each of our lives, we have wondered what our purpose is for this place and time, in this context of flesh and bone. Were we thoughtfully created in a virtuous design by the imagination of a loving Creator? Or is our existence more random, particles of science left to chance, deriving whatever pleasure we can muster for the moment and leaving the rest to fickle fate?If we subscribe to the latter belief that our lives are merely happenstance, our perspectives are informed only … [Read more...]

A Time to Figure Out What We Need

When we are in anxiety inducing circumstances, we should figure out what we need and take those needs to God in prayer.  Figuring out what we need is our responsibility; God will not do the figuring for us.  He will not do for us what we can and should do for ourselves. Of course, our Father already knows what we need before we ask Him (Matt. 6:32), but figuring out what our needs are and bringing those needs to Him in prayer are expressions of our trust in Him.“Okay, I agree that it is our r … [Read more...]

How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen – and Keep Happening

by Thomas Gregory StewartFriedrich Nietzsche once said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” No, it’s not scripture, but it does prove true throughout scripture. And since you’re still alive to read this, the “makes us stronger” part applies. I’m sure we have all heard someone say, “God must think I’m strong, with all I have been through.”I have often thought to myself, with all the abuse, chaos and loss I myself have been through, God must think I’m even stronger than that. A … [Read more...]

The Benedictine Public Square

 by Clinton CollisterRod Dreher’s latest book, The Benedict Option, hit bookshelves a couple weeks ago. My wife noticed a copy sitting in our headmaster’s mailbox before the public had access. We pilfered the book as soon as the secretaries stepped out of the office and read through the chapter on education back in my wife’s classroom. We spoke with Dreher about classical Christian education after his talk at the Front Porch Republic conference last September. As it turns out, hi … [Read more...]

Thoughts on a Church Closing

by Rev. Dr. David H. RobertsIt’s going to be a tough time for a couple of dozen people in western Oglethorpe County, where three tiny Methodist churches have existed for over a hundred years. All three churches will have final worship services in May and close officially by vote of the North Georgia Annual Conference of Methodists in June.One church's deed is dated 1886, the other two 1908 and 1915, and the congregations are older. Family members who were born and died in those co … [Read more...]

From “Animal House” to a House of Animals? Middlebury and Today’s Students

by  J. Nick Pitts Previous generations’ college experiences were satirized by the film Animal House, but today’s college campus seems more a house of animals. While Animal House depicted college as continual party that promoted promiscuity and debauchery with little time for learning, today’s college experience seems more like a continual protest. These demonstrations are caused by a distrust in institutions, endemic to the millennial generation, and an overarching lack of historical unders … [Read more...]

Why We Need the Benedict Option and How It Doesn’t Have to Return to Fundamentalism

by Heather Walker PetersonWhen I mentioned to a friend that I was interviewing Rod Dreher about his book The Benedict Option, my friend’s response was that Dreher struck him as “reactive.” Since then, I’ve read the book and multiple reviews. In light of my background and career, I believe that Dreher is being “pro-active” not reactive as long as direct measures are taken to avoid some of the sins of the kingdom building of past fundamentalists.A driving force behind The Benedict Option as … [Read more...]

Building Bridges Between the Black Church and the Israeli People

By Eliana RudeeOn a chilly Friday morning in Jerusalem, 14 American Baptist leaders filed into Colel Chabad’s Pantry Packers packing plant, ready to prepare food for Israel’s underprivileged. Despite the cold, Michael Seiler, Manager of Liaison Services with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (“The Fellowship”), volunteered his Friday morning to brief the Baptist leaders, promising that this activity would warm everyone’s hearts.Indeed, hearts were warmed and bridges were … [Read more...]

The Church’s Responsibility to Support Marriage

by Sheila WeberSince any church’s goal should be to serve the spiritual needs of its members and reach out to its community, marriage should be on the forefront of its agenda. Marriage is the most unrecognized national crisis of our day.  The church is on the front line of caring about poverty and caring about children.  But both the left and the right agree that marriage is the biggest predictor of poverty and well-being for children. The Heritage Foundation says that being raised in a mar … [Read more...]