Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Parenthood’s Happy Middle

Now drifting into its sixth and final season, NBC’s Parenthood has spent its run alternately pegged for cancellation and heralded as the saving grace of the network’s Thursday-night lineup. Rejecting both courses, it has remained just good enough to get by, just bad enough to remain tolerable. Sometimes better, sometimes worse—but always along the gradient of mediocrity. Continue Reading »

Gay Rights and Ideology

Two stories have been in circulation. One concerns a subpoena issued in Houston demanding all sermons and memoranda that touch on homosexuality from a group of pastors. The other involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp. Ordained ministers of the Four Square Church, they run the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Local officials have informed them that anti-discrimination laws require them to perform same-sex weddings. 
Continue Reading »

Shailer Mathews, With Us Still

In 1918, Shailer Mathews, the late dean of Chicago Divinity delivered a series of lectures at the University of North Carolina entitled “Religion and Patriotism.” With the Great War as backdrop, the great culture warrior for the social gospel utilized his understanding of historicism as a method to discuss how religion and patriotism should be rightly understood in a genuine democracy. Along the way, Mathews attempted to indict the religion of German nationalism and what he considered the religious right of his day. Both, ultimately, subscribed to the same vision of God as sovereign ruler rather than loving father, and it was this vision that supplied the rationale behind autocratic rule, whether that rule came in the form of an inerrant scripture, an infallible pope, or an all-encompassing state. Continue Reading »

A Church In Exile

Religion, and maybe Ebola, owned the news this week. From the confusion and public relations nightmare at the Vatican over the Synod’s Relatio, to the Caesarism of Annise Parker and the City of Housing subpoenaing sermons from pastors, it’s a been a busy week for the religion beat. Continue Reading »



Filter First Thoughts Posts