People frequently conflate religion with morality, as if they were the same thing. When we are children we imagine that if we are good, God will reward us. But the Christian faith insists that God loves us as we are. As Paul put it: “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Continue reading
“When the mob could not find Paul and Silas, they dragged some believers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also.’” —Acts 17:6
Paul and Silas got in big trouble in Thessalonica. Paul preached for several days, explaining that Jesus was the Messiah and that he had to suffer and die. Many listeners were convinced and followed them.
But there was backlash. Luke writes, “They formed a mob and set the city in an uproar.” They said, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also.”
They didn’t mean it as a compliment, but “turning the world upside down” is exactly what the Good News about Jesus did that day. Continue reading
My teacher, mentor, colleague, friend and Berkshire neighbor Max Stackhouse, one of the primary founders of Public Theology, will be celebrated at our church in Stockbridge on Sunday. (see flyer below)
Dr. Scott Paeth, one of the editors of a new book of Max’s writings, Shaping Public Theology (Eerdmans, 2014) will give a presentation after morning worship.
Several years ago I posted on Max’s “God and Globalization.” You can find that here. In Max’s body of writings he has persistently challenged the dominate economic view of society (whether capitalist or socialist) as reductionist.For example, here is an excerpt from a letter he sent us back in 2009:
The economies in each area (of his several travels in the world) have some things in common, such as whether people have little or much, they want more, and in all contexts the laws of supply and demand operate. But, what people want more of and why they want what they want, and what they are able to supply and what they demand for what reasons are quite different. These things differ according to their view of and experiences in family life, political power, legal systems, educational opportunities, medical conditions and technological capabilities. In other words, economics is less an independent cause in social stability or change, than a result of the cultural and civilizational fabric. And, here is the main point, these are all deeply influenced by the dominant religion as shaped by the professional leaders of that religion — the clergy, intellectuals, theologians, and charismatic leaders who appeal to the core of the faith and relate it to the social realities the civilization faces. Under the influence of the secularization hypothesis, religion is a by-product of economic (and psychological) factors. (For the whole letter go here.)
If you are in the area join us for this celebration of Max and his important contributions to Public Theology: