Saltiness and social justice

Does the theological conservatism of a church help or hinder its chances for growth? And what, if any, impact might that have on its social and political witness? In a new research study, sociologist David Haskell and historian Kevin Flatt explore the first of these questions. Continue Reading...

Calvin Coolidge on the spiritual power of Christmas

In his many addresses to the nation, President Calvin Coolidge made a point of routinely redirecting the country’s attention to the “things of the spirit.” In his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, he encouraged the country to reorient its vision of abundance, progressing not only in material prosperity, but also “in moral and spiritual things.” In his reflections on the Declaration of Independence, he reminded us that ours is a liberty not meant for “pagan materialism,” which would surely turn our prosperity into “a barren sceptre in our grasp.” Years earlier, as President of the Massachusetts Senate, he urged legislators to remember that “statutes must appeal to more than material welfare.” “Man has a spiritual nature,” he continued. Continue Reading...

All is gift: Embracing the divine generosity of Christmas

Throughout the Christmas season, we are routinely reminded of our “gift nature,” whether through the transfer of presents, the confluence of family gatherings, the creative flurry of plays and performances, or, most importantly, the central story of the One who gives it all meaning in the first place. Continue Reading...

Kings without a king: Kuyper on the illusion of independence

“A human kingship imperceptibly came to power, leaving no place for the kingship of Christ.” –Abraham Kuyper The West prides itself on valuing freedom – political, economic, religious, and otherwise. For some, this leads to the promotion of a certain brand of libertinism: the freedom to do what we want. Continue Reading...

Is it possible for the church to be apolitical?

Weary and wary from the Religious Right’s checkered history of unhealthy political alliances, many pastors and churches have opted for disengagement altogether. Or the illusion of disengagement, that is. As Andrew Walker reminds us, “It is impossible for churches to be apolitical because Jesus is a King. Continue Reading...