It’s no secret that politics has been growing more contentious, and the events of this year have seriously exacerbated that trend. In the light of the coronavirus pandemic and the tragic murder of George Floyd, our public square is filled with suspicion, vitriol, and...
Like many students who attended a Christian college or university, I read Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer for the first time during my freshman year of college. At the time, I was several weeks into a study away...
In recent years, scholars and policy-makers have shown a renewed interest in civil society. The call to revitalize and empower the mediating institutions that stand between the national government and the individual––from churches to charities to bowling leagues––has been taken up by a diverse array of organizations, intellectuals, and politicians.
At first glance, the period of history leading up to the Reformation and our current political moment seem to have little in common. While 16th century Europe was a pseudo-theocratic feudal society, ours is a modern, liberal nation-state, and increasingly secular. What can the Reformation teach us about political conflict in the US today?
How can we engage in politics without losing our souls? It’s a question that’s been weighing on my mind in this turbulent time. When the public square is rocked by deadly disease, racism, unrest, and party polarization, it might appear that the only way to stay sane and free of darkness and despair is to withdraw into the safety of one’s private life.
As Jesus commissioned a first group of disciples to bear the gospel message of peace and reconciliation into the public square, he instructed them, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16 NIV). In a moment of volatile civic discourse, political anger, and degradation of social institutions––all driven by factional strife––Jesus’ advice casts a vision for bewildered, weary Christians that are unsure of their responsibility to a fractured public life.
Unfortunately, economics as a discipline seems to wear a “Neutral Economist” hat unironically. In other words, the discipline focuses extensively on models, math, and measurements, and not enough on the intrinsic subjects of these models: people.
Democratic culture appears in decline. Voluntary associations recede in influence and number. Labor unions, civic groups, youth organizations, and religious communities struggle to gain members from younger generations.
The ideal of liberal education, learning for the sake of learning, might appear suspect in light of Christian theology. In his essay “On the Theology of the Intellectual Life,” the English theologian John Webster writes that all “created things, including created intellect, are to be understood in terms of the history of fellowship between God and creatures.”