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Church in Society

  1. A Modest Proposal by Dennis Smith

    A poem which grew out of a Pastoral Reflection Group in Guatemala City, reflecting on the the relationship between the words of the New Testament and life in a country full of repression and a world full of fear and false gospels.

  2. About Questions of Guilt by Martin Niemoller

    We are probably all murderers, thieves and sadists, but we have done little or nothing to stop the evil, and beyond all, we, that is the Church, have failed, for we knew the wrong and the right path, but we did not warn the people and allowed them to rush forward to their doom.

  3. Between Anarchy and Fanaticism: Religious Freedom’s Challenge by Eugene B. Borowitz

    The resurgence of religious orthodoxies has brought to the fore the issue of the religious ground of democracy and its role in social policy. The critical tasks of our time: teaching us how, while loving freedom, to mandate high standards of behavior; and how, while maintaining God’s truth, to accommodate variety and dissent.

  4. Beyond Separation of Church and State by Andrew B Murphy

    Review of Separation of Church and State by Philip Hamburger, who argues that it is not true that our constitution and the First Amendment protect us from the entanglements of church and state.

  5. Building Communities From the Inside Out by Robert Bachelder

    The best strategy for churches may be to again make the inner city a staging area for upward and outward mobility.

  6. Cadets for Christ by Amy Johnson Frkyholm

    The Air Force Academy must clarify itself on questions central to democracy -- the separation of church and state and the free expression of religion.

  7. Cats in a Wood Stove: Reflections on Building a New Social Gospel by William Barnwell

    We are lapsing into well-defended ecclesiastical narcissism. We take care of ourselves -- tending our sick, stabilizing our marriages, providing a much-needed community for our members, worshiping enthusiastically on Sundays -- but about the “sickness of Joseph,” the tyranny in our land, we care not at all, or so it must seem to those outside the church.

  8. Christian Faith and Technical Assistance by Margaret Mead

    The revolution that has taken place in the last decade in our capacity to speed up technological change has confronted the Christian churches with an ethical dilemma of no small proportions.

  9. Christian Politics ‘Reformation" Style by Robin Lovin

    Although "a useful antidote to secular optimism," Glenn Tinder’s Political Meaning of Christianity takes too narrow a view of human possibilities, says Robin W. Lovin in a review of the book.

  10. Doctrine as Guide to Social Witness by George Hunsinger

    One striking accomplishment of the recent Presbyterian Study Catechism is that it deliberately draws out the political implications of fundamental doctrines. In doing so, it takes a significant step toward erasing the false opposition between traditional faith and progressive politics.

  11. El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido by Jorge Lara-Braud

    "Christ has been killed again. But he will rise again."

  12. Faith-based Politics by Arthur E. Farnsley II

    The Bush Administration misunderstands congregations: 1. It has unrealistic expectations of what a congregations is and what it does. 2. It gives a model of competition where the alternative service provider idea pits the secular against the faith-based non-profits.

  13. Faithful Citizens by Gerald L. Sittser

    There is no other nation that has a dual identity -- religious and national -- as does America. Dr. Sittser reviews three books that address the confusions in America and religion.

  14. Filling in the Gaps of Liberal Culture by Martin E. Marty

    An analysis of how American Christians have both interacted with and transcended liberal culture.

  15. Jesus and Paul Versus the Empire by John Dart

    John Dart shows how many Christian symbols and actions derived from their counterparts in the Roman Empire and the deification of the emperors, and that today is not much different.

  16. Martin Luther King: The Preacher as Virtuoso by Martin E. Marty

    American virtuosos like Lincoln and King knew how to invoke prophetic biblical texts and ancient moral injunctions and join them to calls to action.

  17. New-time Religion by Robert N. Bellah

    Bellah reviews a book that asks, "What does it mean to call our age secular?"

  18. Public Religion, Through Thick and Thin by Richard J. Mouw

    The author reviews a book by Martin E. Marty. "….the goal of the conversation is to help people envision and practice ways…..for good intentions to be true to themselves, their faith, their causes -- and do little damage to others along the way." His book reminds us that in public life difficult decisions must be made.

  19. Recognizing the Abused Child by Sandra L. Sheldon, P.A. Poos and G.M. Balch, Jr.

    Abused children can be found in every city, in every neighborhood, in every congregation. To deny this or to ignore the warning signs is to help perpetuate the cycle of abuse.

  20. Seeking Christian Interiority: An Interview with Louis Dupré by Louis Dupre

    We have all become atheists, in the sense that God no longer matters absolutely in our closed world—if God matters at all. To survive as a genuine believer, the Christian must now personally integrate what tradition did in the past. Christians are responsible for the culture in which they live, however unlike-minded it may be.

  21. Shaping a Vision for Cultural Pluralism by John B. Cobb, Jr.

    The nation state is giving way to cultural pluralism. The author looks at the U.S. forms, lists two promising models, and suggests the church's contribution and responsibility to furthering pluralism.

  22. The Christian Church’s Struggle to be Faithful by Ken Bedell

    If the Church is faithful, it will not be the same in the future as it is today. It will not use the same forms of organization, teach the same way, relate to society in the same way, or worry about the same issues. In a word, the church will be transformed.

  23. The Christian Gospel and the American Way of Life by David E. Roberts

    It is always too dangerous for men to grasp the real import of the New Testament -- any time, anywhere, in any society. This is because the gospel always lays bare elements of tyranny which society regards as necessary for its own security.

  24. The Church Against the World by H. Richard Niebuhr, Wilhelm Pauck and Francis P. Miller

    (ENTIRE BOOK) The authors see Christianity threatened not only by the rival religions of capitalism and nationalism, but in America it is becoming a purely national religion, unintelligible to Christians of other lands, as their Protestantism is becoming unintelligible to us. This may be the beginning of a process, which in Germany resulted in a new national religion. The chapters speak about ways of dealing with this threat to the Christian religion.

  25. The Church as Prophetic Critic by John C. Bennett

    Mounting criticism of the church’s role as critic of the prevailing order brought John C. Bennet, the professor of Christian theology and ethics at Union Theological Seminary, to write a spirited defense of that role and a challenge to the churches to serve not only as healer but also as prophet.

  26. The Class Struggle in American Religion by Peter Berger

    If one says of a particular political position that it and no other is the will of God, one is implicitly excommunicating those who disagree. The effortless linkage between reactionary religion and reactionary politics is most troubling, especially in terms of an aggressive and at least potentially bellicose nationalism.

  27. The Free-Church Tradition and Social Ministry by Max L. Stackhouse

    Today the free-church tradition is called to reclaim and recast its heritage. By engaging itself in the world it helps prepare the world for Christ. And in Christ we not only enhance human rights; we find, finally and fully, what is truly human and what is most right.

  28. The Frightful, Beneficial Mess of American Religion by Martin E. Marty

    Religious differences in the United Sates are numerous and varied, yet they rarely lead to extended violent conflicts such as happens in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, the subcontinent of Asia , and in many other places. Determining the reason for this realative tolerance could prove useful for future civil crises.

  29. The Predicament of Modern Man by Elton Trueblood

    (ENTIRE BOOK) To say that no one solution is a panacea is not to deny that some approaches to a problem come nearer to the center of the difficulty than others do. To say that we shall not make a perfect society in the next century or the next millennium is no excuse for failure to do our best to create an order relatively better than the one in which we now live. It is the gospel that can save our decaying society and the gospel alone.

  30. The Problem with "Under God" by Rodney Clapp

    If one considers Elk Grove Unified School v. Newdow theologically, with the conviction that God ultimately refers to the Creator-Redeemer met in Israel and Jesus Christ, then the "God" Americans are to pledge their nation to be "under" is at worst an idol and at best the true God’s name taken in vain.

  31. The Radical Witness of Bill Coffin by Harvey Cox

    Few leaders have been more central and visible in the tumultuous years of the civil rights movement than William Sloane Coffin. He made many of the events of that era happen and inspired hundreds of young people to be involved.

  32. The Secular City 25 Years Later by Harvey Cox

    In the years that have passed since The Secular City was published much has happened to the cities of the world, including American cities, and most of it has not been good

  33. The Secularist Prejudice by Gary Wills

    Historian/journalist/political scientist Garry Wills notes how some scholars -- including such eminent historians as Henry Steele Commager and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. -- and public figures, including Michael Dukakis (whom Wills has called "the first truly secular candidate we have ever had for the presidency") have undervalued, ignored or maligned the role of religion in American life.

  34. The Sense of God’s Reality by Harry Emerson Fosdick

    Nothing is more clear in the light of history than this: new political, economic and ecclesiastical machinery does not alone solve problems; it creates problems, and, above all, it puts a strain on moral foundations, on spiritual resources, that must successfully be met or the best-laid plans come down in ruin.

  35. The Story of Liam Q by Jens Soaring

    Lifers released prior to the truth-in-sentencing rules in which they had a hope of parole had the lowest recidivism rate of any group of offenders. With the strict rules continuing and no possibility of restoration, only punishment, there is no hope, especially for the young.

  36. The Urban Church: Symbol and Reality by John Shelby Spong

    It is vital for the urban church to take seriously its teaching function as a self-conscience Christian Community. These churches are essential to the urban life and must be given the utmost care. Their structures need to shine as centers of beauty, as symbols of hope, as signs of the Kingdom.

  37. Theology and Civil Society: A Proposal for Ecumenical Inquiry by Lewis S. Mudge

    What roles should Christian churches now play in the dialogue about democratic participation, discursive civility, and moral responsibility now emerging in diverse political cultures across the globe? The Christian vision of the people of God, understood as an inclusive company of human beings transcending the borders of churches and other religious institutions, offers a model whose intellectual reach and cogency is enhanced when it is allowed to underlie and transform our whole notion of what "communicative action" between human beings and human communities can mean.

  38. Welfare, Charity and Ministry: Postures in the Helping Relationship by Gilbert R. Rendle, Jr.

    What makes running a soup kitchen and food pantry such a tough job is that so many others want us to do it differently. Some want us to “save their souls before we warm their bellies.” Some want us to help the hungry, but to “keep them in their place” while we do it. Some want us to screen people according to income and possessions before we feed them, and some want us to close down before we lower property values.

  39. What Can We Hope For In Society? by John C. Bennett

    A major figure in Christian ethics describes the elements of hope for our society.