A Divided Christianity

Marcus Borg is professor emeritus in the philosophy department at Oregon State University, where he was the Hundere Chair in Religion until his retirement in 2007.   He is also the only author to ever make my top ten books of the year list in consecutive years (2011 and 2012).  Recently, he joined Patheos.  In his introductory post explaining who he is and what he will be blogging about, Borg explains the reality of what American Christianity is today: My (and our) cultural context is a deeply Read More …

Reinventing Liberal Christianity

Last week I read Theo Hobson's new book: Reinventing Liberal Christianity (2013).  It is the sort of work that warrants deeper and more thoughtful consideration than my first read allowed.   Since I am not likely to return to it for awhile yet find the content engaging and relevant, I will forgo a book review in favor of a book recommendation.  Those interested in a thoughtful and thought provoking exploration of what liberal Christianity (largely Protestantism) is today, how it reached this Read More …

WHCB: Summary & Next Steps

I have devoted most of my posts over the last week to exploring an important topic: "What's Holding Christianity Back."  Using a list of five items proposed by Christian Piatt, I considered church buildings, denominations, worship, church boards, and fear. So What? These factors are quite real.  They must not be ignored.  Reading these posts, pondering your own church experiences, and considering how an awareness of these issues may prove helpful as you live in the present with Read More …

WHCB: Church Buildings

Christian Piatt includes church buildings on his list of five things that are holding Christianity back.  He suggests that "they have become an albatross rather than an asset." Reality Check Most American congregations own buildings.  The costs associated with maintaining these structures is significant. In congregations that are in the midst of extended periods of plateau or experiencing years of declining membership, the percentage of the annual budget needed for their upkeep Read More …

What’s Holding Christianity Back? (WHCB)

Christian Piatt is the author of multiple books, including Banned Questions About Jesus and Banned Questions About the Bible.  Recently, he shared a list of things he feels are holding Christianity back: church buildings, denominations, worship, church boards, and fear. So What? Piatt labels these items as "the five biggest things I’ve seen that tend to keep us from doing our best work as the living, breathing body of Christ in the world today."  While he and I may disagree a Read More …

For not Against

Rachel Marie Stone is a writer who writes for places like Christianity Today, Sojourners, and The Christian Century.  Recently she wrote a blog post calling her readers to focus on that which they are for rather than defining themselves by that which they are against. So What? When it comes to Christianity, so many tend to define themselves or "their type of Christianity" based on what they are against.  Unfortunately, I have met far too many people who were passionate about that which Read More …

North American Christianity is Broken

New York Times best selling author Frank Schaeffer, recently wrote a strong critique of both the evangelical and progressive forms of Protestant Christianity in North America in which he claims that "The problem with North American Christianity is not the window-dressing– it’s the whole package." So What? Like Schaeffer, I believe the current trend of decline among Protestants in North America signals that Protestant Christianity as we have known it for the last hundred years has major Read More …

Don’t Assume

A week ago CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Rebecca Vitsmun, a survivor of the tornado in Moore, OK.  While doing so he asked a question that assumed religious belief: "You've gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?"  In a polite and unassuming way, Vistum told Blitzer that she is an atheist. So What? Blitzer's seemingly innocent question and Vitsmun's honest response generated significant attention.  The American Humanist Association Read More …

Review of How the West Really Lost God

Meet the Author Mary Tedeschi Eberstadt is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at  Stanford University and consulting editor to Policy Review, the Hoover Institution's bimonthly journal of essays and reviews on American politics and society.  Her work considers issues related to American society, culture, and philosophy.  Eberstadt's previous books include The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism (2010), and Home-Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Read More …

The 32%

As you celebrate Resurrection, consider that you are a part of the 32%.  According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, the percentage of the world's population that is Christian has not changed much in the last 100 years: 1910: 32%, and 2012: 35%. While the percentage remains stable, the number of Christians has increased dramatically during that period of time: 1910: 600 million, and 2010: 2.18 billion. So What? While the Read More …