return to religion-onlineReinhold Niebuhr
Sidelines are on the one hand filled with athletes who have been injured in the battles of the arena, and on the other hand with spectators. My view of life since my stroke had to be informed by both connotations. I was dismissed from the battle, but I was also a spectator to engagements that had hitherto occupied me.
Religion without a constantly replenished force of penitence easily becomes a romance which brutal men use to hide the real sources of their actions from themselves and from others. That is why romantic religion is dangerous and that is why liberal religion is not now an effective agent of moral redemption in our contemporary society.
America is living in a completely secularized civilization which has lost the art of bringing its dominant motives under any kind of moral control.
The concern Niebuhr raised about the conflict between priestly and prophetic roles is never fully resolved in any given time. Niebuhr reminds us of the necessity of living in this world, in the tension between it and the "other world," inescapably related to the ethical and social problems of the time.
(ENTIRE BOOK) Dr. Patterson presents an overview and summary of Niebuhr’s thought and its relevance to the theological and secular issues of his day, and offers a running dialectical critique that also reveals areas Niebuhr neglected or even misunderstood.
A personal and an intellectual biography of Reinhold Niebuhr in which the author has employed the research methods of an American historian to dig out and interpret the data: "At Union Seminary, where Niebuhr so often talked of ‘the irony of history,’ we remember him as an example of it."
Niebuhr’s lifelong prophetic commitment to exposing the sins of American imperialism prepares us for similar themes in the writings of those who view us from "the underside of history." His insistence that personal faith and politics go together prepares us to hear (from the very beginning) about a "spirituality of liberation."
The Serenity Prayer gives us a strong dose of the politicized Niebuhr, but it also splendidly conveys the hopeful, ironic, polemical, prophetic spirit of a great theologian who prayed from the heart and unfailingly asked himself, "What does the gospel ethic mean in this situation?"
Dr. Niebuhr analyses the nature of the Christian witness to justice and peace, in the context of post-WW II colonialism.