Reading the Psalms with the Reformers

In the fourth century, St. Athanasius wrote a letter to a certain Marcellinus, who was likely a deacon in the church in Alexandria. During a long illness, Marcellinus had turned to the study of the Bible and was especially drawn to the Book of Psalms, striving “to comprehend the meaning contained . . . . Continue Reading »

Populism

T he rise of populism in Europe—and here in the United States by way of Donald Trump—is a rebellion against postmodern weightlessness. Political commentators are right to point out voter concerns about immigration, ­economic distress caused by globalization, and the ­technocratic establishment . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

africaJohn Azumah, author of “Through African Eyes” (October), has been my colleague and friend at Columbia Theological Seminary since he arrived here in 2011. We have agreed on some matters, disagreed on others, and maintained a clear and sincere sense of collegiality regardless of our . . . . Continue Reading »

Diversity as Slogan and Reality

There’s a mainline congregation I walk past on my way to the local Starbucks. The church’s advertising signals a key priority: “We value our inclusivity—whether you are young, old, gay, straight, single, married, partnered, all walks of life and all backgrounds and cultures—we welcome you!”There’s a mainline congregation I walk past on my way to the local Starbucks. The church’s advertising signals a key priority: “We value our inclusivity—whether you are young, old, gay, straight, single, married, partnered, all walks of life and all backgrounds and cultures—we welcome you!” Continue Reading »

Protestantism in the Desert

I admit to having experienced perverse enjoyment when first hearing the story Episcopal Bishop James Pike. The cautionary tale is featured in Joan Didion’s The White Album, and more recently, in two sobering chronicles of Protestant decline, Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion and Joseph Bottum’s AnAnxious Age. Following an impressive revisionist binge, Pike finally cast off Christianity completely. In pursuit of some kind of Gnosis, he drove into the Jordanian desert in a Ford Cortina with two Cokes and his third wife, where he lost his way and died. Such a fitting illustration of the Protestant condition, I once thought: an ill-equipped Ford Cortina hurtling to desert doom. Continue Reading »

The Future of Protestantism

Protestants often act as if the Reformation were the end of history, the moment when the Church reached its final condition. For these sorts of Protestants, the future of Protestantism can only be more of the same. This cannot be. God is the living Creator, still at work in his world, and that . . . . Continue Reading »