Thinking about Lutheran Evangelism

From First Thoughts

The Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) sponsors a fine online journal entitled “Let’s Talk,” which is a venue for Chicago-area pastors, theologians, and laity to contribute articles about issues facing the Lutheran church in the urban . . . . Continue Reading »

Ranking and Cultural Attention

From First Thoughts

The season is upon us where culture junkies such as myself become enjoyably worked up over various year-end “Best of 2011” lists - best album, movie, novel, etc. Adam Kotsko of Shimer College wonders what this drive towards “spurious ‘ranking,’ that is, the expression . . . . Continue Reading »

Pelagius Redux

From First Thoughts

On the plus side: the Atlanta Diocese of the Episcopal Church is taking on a substantive theological question concerning the patristic heritage of the church. On the negative side: well, let’s listen in : Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological . . . . Continue Reading »

Lackluster Universalism

From First Thoughts

The blogosphere has rightly settled down from the fevered discussions on universalism occasioned earlier this year by, among other things, Rob Bell’s writings. However, distance has its advantages. In this case, the fact that universalism (or threats of it) is not quite the hot topic among . . . . Continue Reading »

Mainline Decline in Generational Terms

From First Thoughts

The bit of revisionist history (summarized by Scott McLemee) concerning the decline of mainline denominations in the U.S. that David Hollinger offers will, I suspect, not be overly surprising to those of us who have actually experienced the seemingly chronic inability of many mainline Protestant . . . . Continue Reading »

“The Rules Sometimes Aren’t Enough”

From First Thoughts

Theologians working in the key of Hans Urs von Balthasar or, more recently, David Bentley Hart have come to a renewed appreciation of the deep links between truth and beauty. Because I have great sympathies for this line of thought, I am often self-conscious of how mainline Protestant traditions - . . . . Continue Reading »