Back to the social gospel

Hillary Clinton cited her commitment to the “social gospel” in a speech to United Methodists.   That goes back to the 19th century when many Protestants said that instead of emphasizing the gospel of eternal salvation in Heaven through Christ, they should emphasize a gospel of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

The social gospel, which inspired all kinds of social reforms and progressive political activism,  became the hallmark of liberal theology.   After World War II, even in liberal theological circles, neo-orthodoxy reacted against the utopianism of the social gospel, though in the 1960s it came back with liberation theology.  Conservative theologies, of course, rejected the social gospel, but today there is arguably a social gospel of the right. [Read more...]

Do Your Duty

I published an article in Tabletalk Magazine about the concept of “duty,” tying it via the Small Catechism to the works of vocation. [Read more...]

The best and worst jobs

CareerCast.com has released its annual Jobs Rated report, which ranks 200 jobs according to various metrics, including work environment, pay, and stress level.   Physicians are #78, the good pay being negated by the high stress levels and difficult work environment.  Pastors come in at #101.  The top two jobs?  Mathematicians and University Professors.  The worst two?  Lumberjacks and newspaper reporters.  After the jump, see a list of the top 10 and the bottom 10, as well as a link to the complete list with the scores.

But what does this attempt to objectify the highly personal and to quantify the ineffable leave out, something that can make even lumberjacking and journalism joyful and fulfilling?  (Hint:  It begins with a V.)

[Read more...]

The vocation of a movie critic

Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday “came out,” as they say, as a Christian, writing a thoughtful essay about her faith and her calling.   [Read more...]

George Herbert’s struggles with his vocation

We’ve blogged about Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, who wrote in the London Guardian that the poetry of George Herbert helped to convert her to Christianity from atheism.  She is following up that essay with a series of articles on particular poems from George Herbert, exploring them and showing how they are relevant to people’s spiritual conditions today.  We blogged about what she said about Herbert’s treatment of Prayer.

After the jump, an excerpt and link to her discussion of Herbert’s poems on his spiritual struggles, particularly with his vocation as a pastor. [Read more...]

Why the family & the church are prior to the state

In the context of a discussion of the movie The Wolf of Wall Street,  Dr. Jack Kilcrease discusses Luther’s concept of the “Orders of Creation” (in each of which we have vocations).  God established the family (the marriage of Adam & Eve) and the church (ordering His relationship with Adam & Eve) BEFORE the Fall.  God established the state AFTER the Fall, as a response to human sin, which now needs to be restrained for society to be possible.   Thus, the church and the family are more basic to human existence in God’s design than the state.  When these orders get confused–as when the state takes the place of the church and the family–trouble ensues. [Read more...]


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