Christianity lives in the tension between its apocalyptic vision of life and its creational mandate to occupy. The former pushes Christians to uproot and pull down the orders of society while the latter draws them back toward the earth and roots them in the orders of creation. Continue Reading »
This historical study by an assistant professor at the Lutheran-affiliated Valparaiso University in Indiana focuses on one of the most fascinating chapters in American history: Chicago labor relations between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the 20th century. In those decades the city churned with industrial development, drawing ever greater numbers of native-born, Irish, northern European, African American, and southern and eastern European laborers.
Richard Norton Smith’s outstanding new biography of Nelson Rockefeller does not directly focus much on the religious beliefs of the wealthy scion and long-time presidential aspirant. But there are enough tidbits to imply that he was a Social Gospel Christian, very much the product of his family’s targeted philanthropy and devotion to liberal Protestantism.The grandson of America’s first billionaire, Rockefeller was born into a pious Baptist home where liquor, smoking and profanity were prohibited, family prayers were a daily ritual, and the Sabbath always sacred. His grandfather, John Sr., the builder of an oil empire, was a conventional but not very theologically minded Baptist. His father, John Jr., the heir and only son, was devout but committed to modernizing Christianity under the guidance of experts he would fund. His counsel for philanthropy was Raymond Fosdick, a backslidden Baptist who championed cautiously progressive causes. Fosdick was brother to the great liberal preacher Harry Emerson, a zealous foe of “fundamentalism” who had survived a Presbyterian heresy trial. Continue Reading »