Has Evangelicalism Become Therapy?

Rachel Held Evans and Roger Olson at George Fox Evangelical Seminary

I’m envious of Chad Lakies. He got to attend the conversation between Rachel Held Evans and Roger Olson on the “Future of Evangelicalism” recently at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Sounds like it was a great conversation. But, as much as Chad resonated with what he heard, he also found something missing in the conversation:

Has evangelicalism, emerging as it has out of its originary concerns for the practical, been complicit in the emergence of therapeutic religion? Indeed, yes. But, but, but….not just evangelicalism. The problem of therapeutic religion is much bigger than evangelicalism. It has affected all of American religion. It goes even beyond Christianity.

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Watch Evangelicals Lose Their Young

Two posts of note today.

I don’t often re-post stuff from Rachel Held Evans, mainly because I assume that you all read her already. Her posts are, almost without exception, worth reading. But today’s post was, I think, a watershed post for her (and probably for many post-evangelicals). The talk for many years has been around Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. His conclusion: There isn’t an evangelical mind.

Well, that was nearly 20 years ago. Evangelicals have done their best to mitigate that, starting Books & Culture and academic societies and the like.

But, Rachel tells us, that’s not the real problem. That’s not what’s driven her from evangelicalism.

Rachel leaving evangelicalism because evangelicalism lacks a heart:

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2013 Theoblogy Predictions [VIDEO]

For the past several years, I’ve appeared on Doug Pagitt Radio to make my annual predictions for the upcoming year in religion. You can judge my prognostication abilities for yourself:

2012 Predictions

2011 Predictions

2010 Predictions 

Looking back, it seems that I’m batting about .500. Not bad (for a baseball player).

So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the Year in Religion 2013:

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Theoblogy Book of the Year

In the past, I’ve awarded a Book of the Year award, usually to the best book that I’ve read, regardless of the relevance to Theoblogy readers. The 2011 winner is one example. In 2008, on the other hand, I picked a book that should be of enormous interest to you who read this blog.

I’ve read some great books this year. None has affected my day-to-day life more than 52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust. Since reading it, I’ve made dozens of loaves of peasant bread — at least one per week. (I’m currently reading a book about 19th century cocktails that seems to be having a similar effect.) But, alas, it’s not a new book in 2012, and it probably interests very few of you.

More on topic for this blog is Brian McLaren’s Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World. I agree with others that this is Brian’s best book yet (although I’ll always have a soft spot in my heard for Generous Orthodoxy). With this book, I think Brian has shown that he, more than any other figure in Christian leadership today, has both the intellect and the gentleness to walk us into a Christianity that can co-exist with other religions. I realize that’s a bold claim, and I don’t make it lightly. For that reason, Brian’s book gets runner-up.

And now, for the 2012 Theoblogy Book of the Year:

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