Accept Unexpected/St. Michael

Personal/Theological Notebook: Michaelmas as a Day in the Life

And again:

MICHAELMAS!

Hamburg_St.Michael.JPG

A perfunctory notice of the feast day, while still not really returned to journaling, but I'm nothing if not devoted to my idiosyncrasies. I will confess to still feeling like returning to this more steady writing, on occasion. But today saw little feast day celebration as I worked on a report on campus, attended a College of Arts and Sciences strategic planning meeting, and had a long, spontaneous, and vastly entertaining evening conversation with Joe, our Irish assistant coach for the women's soccer program, which was kind of the highlight of the day. Doesn't seem like much of a day, perhaps, but it had its little moments: popping in to talk enrollment and recruiting details with Woody, having Gloria and Jahiedy in my office for a bit as they talked about Thérèse of Lisieux and John of the Cross, Penny helping me sort out Excel, laughing over the end of last season's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Steve, and almost continuing the conversation about the nature of philosophy that has begun with Tim.

And such is the gift of another day of life.
Accept Unexpected/St. Michael

Personal/Theological Notebook: Michaelmas, Journaling, CPU Madness, and Jewish-Christian Dialogue

Once again:

MICHAELMAS!

2014-09-18 Saint Michael

So I'm still reluctant to let go of this journal, despite the number that the newer Russian owners did on it in 2012. Recognizing that today was my feast day, and that that (had) traditionally meant some piece of Michaelmas art in my journal, made my thoughts push in this direction. The other day, I found this admittedly somewhat standard statue of Michael in a corner of campus that I had never gone to. But I couldn't help but notice that someone had had the worthy idea of individuating this piece by putting the Saint Leo University seal onto the shield, which helped offset the utterly expressionless face. I'd prefer Michael to at least look a little more intent. Maybe Michael can bless this space, help me find where a blog or public journal now fits into my life (I find the exercise of tracking my life to be too valuable to just let go), and bless the Russians into fixing the Scrapbook functions after two-and-a-half years and restoring the old functionality that this thing used to have.

I was up all night digging into my computer, trying to figure out why the thing had been getting slower and slower. I thought that it was when my antivirus software had updated some weeks back that things seemed to get worse, yet when I turned that off, the problem seemed to be solved, but then revved back up. I finally discovered that I already had a utility that I'd been wishing for – Activity Monitor – on my Mac, which let me monitor what was being used by my CPU. Then I discovered that something called Google Chrome Helper was eating my CPU, sometimes taking up more than 100% of its capacity. Following that up on discussion boards, I discovered that his has been a growing problem for Chrome users on Mac, although there's some hope that the new Canary version of the browser will fix the issue. Maddening, but I felt like I got somewhere.

The weekend was, in a large part, devoted to continuing some of the Catholic-Jewish dialogue work that I have been immersed in since the beginning of the semester. While Rabbi and Marcia Rudin had left campus after their month as visiting scholars, I still had some significant work to turn to in the review that I'm writing for Theological Studies on the volume Toward the Future: Essays on Catholic-Jewish Relations in Memory of Rabbi León Klenicki. The essays have been uniformly good, both giving me ideas that I can incorporate into future classes, as in the essay on biblical resources for interreligious dialogue, and challenging, as with the deeply-sobering reflection on the problem of doing theology after the Shoah. I don't know that I'd ever felt it as so much of a problem before. That is, I had a "head" understanding of why it was a problem, but the essay helped me feel the problem of it more than I think that I had before, even where I didn't necessarily agree with the line of thought or theological reasoning employed. In the mental mix of all of that came the memory of Rabbi Rudin and I talking back on the 6th in Orlando, when he team-taught my course for the diaconate candidates there, and somehow the two of us getting onto the Nuremberg Laws. At one point, he observed that I would have been murdered under the Nuremberg Laws and Wannsee Protocols, which was striking to me: I had known it, but no one else had ever said it before. Likewise, I re-read the Book of Exodus yesterday, preparatory to my next session in Orlando this Saturday, and so the image and heritage of Pharaoh, too, was floating in my head. All of this added up to augment that mood of sobriety. The constant, Midwest-worthy grey days and rain has just added to that. I'm not sure that I have any conclusions from the reading, other than to perhaps address the issue more explicitly in future courses. But I wonder whether the problem of evil is really made stronger via quantity, or whether it simply becomes less avoidable for us. I don't know that the pain that one murder can cause the survivors is qualitatively different than the pain caused by millions of murders: our reasoning tends to fall apart in the face of pain. Something like the Shoah, though, perhaps surrounds and confronts us with the presence of evil that otherwise we can learn to live with, rationalize, exploit, or ignore.
Books (Clementinum)

Personal/Theological Notebook: Reading List 2014-2015 School Year

What I've Been Reading
Reading List 2014-2015 School Year:

I get asked about this every so often, and I'm always willing to recommend a good book, so some years ago I thought I'd follow the lead of one of my favourite authors, Diane Duane, who has something similar up on her page. Books I re-read are heartily endorsed!

* denotes a re-read **denotes a book I'm teaching in a class
Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's, R.A. Scotti
Liberal Education, Mark Van Doren
Toward the Future: Essays on Catholic-Jewish Relations in Memory of Rabbi Léon Klenicki, eds. Celia M. Deutsch, Eugene J. Fisher, and James Rudin
The Hebrew Scriptures * **
Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, 2nd Ed., Lawrence Boadt, Revised and Updated by Richard Clifford and Daniel Harrington * **
The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton *
The Man in the Sycamore Tree: The Good Times and Hard Life of Thomas Merton, Edward Rice
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, Roland Bainton *
Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism, Alvin Plantinga
Apology for Origen, Pamphilus of Caesarea
On the Falsification of the Books of Origen, Rufinus of Aquileia
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn *
The Book of Job: A Biography, Mark Larrimore
Tales of Dunk and Egg: The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight, George R.R. Martin *
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller
The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief, George Marsden
Robinson Crusoe, Daniel DeFoe *
Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus, Gerald O'Collins, S.J. * **
History of the World Christian Movement, Dale T. Irvin and Scott W. Sunquist **
Readings in World Christian History, Vol. I: Earliest Christianity to 1453, eds. John W. Coakley and Andreas Sterk **
The New Concise History of the Crusades, Thomas F. Madden
The Life of Thomas More, Peter Ackroyd *
The Confessions, Augustine of Hippo * **
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien *
The Letters of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. and trans. by Helen Clover and Margaret Gibson
The History of Science: Antiquity to 1700, Lawrence M. Principe
The Mind's Journey Into God, Bonaventure * **
The History of Science: 1700-1900, Frederick Gregory
The Life and Writings of Adam Easton, O.S.B., Leslie John Macfarlane
Rerum Novarum, Leo XIII **
A Wind In The Door, Madeleine L'Engle * **
Science in the Twentieth Century: A Social-Intellectual Survey, Steven L. Goldman
The Institutes, John Cassian **
Perelandra, C.S. Lewis * **
The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart
The Rule, Saint Benedict * **
A Man For All Seasons, Robert Bolt * **
The Complete Works, Pseudo-Dionysius * **
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson **
On Loving God, Bernard of Clairvaux * **
The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene * **
The Mind's Journey Into God, Bonaventure * **
Silence, Shusaku Endo * **
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, Joseph J. Ellis
Socrates in the City: Conversations on 'Life, God, and Other Small Topics', Eric Metaxas, ed.
The Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries, Alan Charles Kors
The Dark Night of the Soul, John of the Cross * **
Descent Into Hell, Charles Williams * **
New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton **
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh * **
No Man Is An Island, Thomas Merton * **
Books (Trinity College Long Room 2)

Personal/Theological Notebook: Reading List 2013-2014 School Year

What I've Been Reading
Reading List 2013-2014 School Year:

I get asked about this every so often, and I'm always willing to recommend a good book, so some years ago I thought I'd follow the lead of one of my favourite authors, Diane Duane, who has something similar up on her page. Books I re-read are heartily endorsed!

* denotes a re-read **denotes a book I'm teaching in a class
Letters, Leo the Great/Pope Saint Leo I
A Voyage Through the New Testament, Catherine A. Cory **
Portraits of Jesus: A Reading Guide, Robert Imperato **
Owen Barfield on C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, ed. by G.B. Tennyson
Four Portraits, One Jesus, Mark Strauss **
The Jewish Study Bible, Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, eds.
Reading the Old Testament, Second Edition, Lawrence Boadt, CSP (I remember being far more annoyed with the first edition as I prepped to go to Notre Dame)
Pretty much the whole of the Bible in the first semester
The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, H.W. Brands
The Intimate Merton: His Life From His Journals, Thomas Merton, OCSO, ed. by Patrick Hart, OCSO
The Priority of John, John A.T. Robinson
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton
The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution, James Hannam
Kish: A Novel, Ed Posega
One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic: A History of the Church in the Middle Ages, Thomas F. Madden
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon
The Craft of Theology, Avery Dulles * **
The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity, Gerald O'Collins, S.J. **
The Trinitarian Controversy, ed. by William G. Rusch * **
The Writings of the New Testament, Third Edition, by Luke Timothy Johnson **
Engaging Theologians, Aidan Nichols, OP
C.S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, Alister McGrath
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, Diarmaid MacCulloch
Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, C.S. Lewis
Jesus Papercuts, Yu Jia-De
The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis *
The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis
The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
The Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan
The Titan's Curse, Rick Riordan
Sheldon Vanauken: The Man Who Received "A Severe Mercy", Will Vaus
Debating Christian Theism, ed. by J.P. Moreland, Khaldoun A. Sweis and Chad V. Meister
Harry Potter et al., J.K. Rowling *
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh *
Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II * **
A Morally Complex World: Engaging Contemporary Moral Theology, James T. Bretzke S.J. **
Veritatis Splendor: American Responses, ed. by Michael E. Allsopp **
Ethics: A History of Moral Thought, Peter Kreeft
How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity, Rodney Stark
My Life With the Saints, James Martin, S.J.
Writing in Jackson Hole

Personal/Theological Notebook: Memories of Running; Scripture Immersion

Do you ever have those memories that you suddenly realize aren't real, but were just dreams? Dreams that had somehow snuck into your regular memories and mixed with them? A little while ago, I was walking out of my apartment to go over to the clubhouse, to work out in the gym, which I have been doing late on mornings I don't have to be in at work early. I thought to myself as I was walking, "Maybe I should just go running." I know that I'm not supposed to run; in fact, that I really can't anymore, given how banged up my knee is. But I also knew that that fact hadn't stopped me before, and that I had been running for a while, nevertheless.

As I walked along the driveway through the apartment complex, enjoying the cool Florida night breeze on my skin, I thought, "When did I take up running again?!" I rooted around in my memory for a little bit and recalled all these memories of going out in recent months for light workouts – light and guarded running, compared to what I used to do. I knew that I ought not to be doing it, but I had done it anyway because I loved it so much. But something felt wrong about that. I thought a little more, and realized that none of this ever happened, and that I was drawing on vague memories of a vast sequence of dreams of going out running.

My intention to pick up the journal again is clearly not going well: it's a hard habit to renew. I wonder if I could adequately describe this time, though. Professionally, I'm teaching all scripture courses and that re-immersion seems a bit subtle for a journal account, in its own way. I suppose that it's something like physical therapy after an injury, where your day-by-day workout is building toward a notable result, but the changes and experiences each day don't seem to distinguish themselves from one another so significantly. I've taught scripture as part of my courses for years, but I haven't taught a course solely devoted to the topic since I taught high school. I suspected that extended time to immerse myself in scripture was going to be a treat for me, as I tend to function more as a contemporary theologian. And indeed it has, although, as per the physical therapy analogy, I find it difficult to explain exactly how it's affecting me. There's something of a "back-to-basics" pleasure to it, re-engaging foundational material for the theological discipline. There's also something of the pleasure of re-discovery to it, too, as I come back to this immersion with more years of thinking and of experience. Employing and teaching the critical methodologies hits me a little differently. Reading Hebrew Scriptures at this depth feels especially fresh, and I've been pulling out and revisiting material from my undergraduate Ancient Near East studies with Marvin Powell along with the new readings.

There are, of course, recreational highlights, too. I went out last night with Professors Clausen and Orlando to catch a showing of Gravity, which was indeed very much augmented by 3-D filming. Visually stunning and with a really impressive soundtrack. Other than an initial "That doesn't make a lick of sense" moment of my inner Physicist protesting at the nature of the disaster that initiates the drama, it all kept us on the edge of our seats. The three of us caught a late dinner at the Stonewood Grill & Tavern where we decompressed after the film, talking through that. Cheryl (a geneticist) lead the group protest about the initial physics that I mentioned, but approved of the ride of the film. We ended up talking a lot about music, compared our various high school nerdinesses, and talked at some length about Frank's dissertation (he's a political scientist, and is expert in Congress and the study of organizations). I had hoped for an apropos fly-over of ISS to conclude the night, but that came later in the evening, with too much haze and too little sunlight for the station to catch. If only life were more consistently artful.
DS9 Temporal Mechanics

Personal: A New Year

I let this journal slide in 2012-13. Partially, this was due to the unwieldy lack of integration between the new, now-awful Scrapbook that LiveJournal gave us. (The temptation to ascribe what seems to be the awful business sense of LiveJournal these days to Russian experience is hard to resist.)

Even more, it had to do with the hiatus my life seemed to take in not finding an academic position for the year, the "involuntary sabbatical" I was taking while living with family and entering the year-old cycle of academic hiring again. I was, in short, embarrassed by my situation, and had no desire to advertise it. A bolder Christian writer would not have been humbled by mere humiliation, I suppose, but I was having a wretched, Mayan apocalypse of a 2012, augmented by the discovery that my mover, one Mark Cordle, had robbed me of everything I had, and just dumped it somewhere. I recovered a bit of my furniture in New Orleans, but that I could have lost most easily. 20 years' work in notes and most of my academic library, my filing cabinets, my computer, photo albums, letters – all of that was lost. So depression was added to humiliation.

And, of course, there was the simple fact that most of the social networking of everyone I knew had switched over to Facebook. For its speed, integration, and its orientation toward small, minor updates shared with friends, Facebook was a far more natural social networking outlet than a full-scale journal is, was, or could be. And so I diverted in that direction as it was likewise the most natural way to keep in touch with a lot of people. But I enjoy the discipline of the journal. I enjoy being able to have access to my life and memories this way, too, which is not something Facebook does well. And I enjoy the equal compatibility that the journal or the blog allows for long topical entries of the sort that my "Theological Notebook" contains, allowing me to even just copy in large news stories or material published elsewhere, all for easy future reference.

And so I'm going to try to revive the habit, now that a new year begins. (August 16th being, as I've said before, the halfway point of August and the start of a new school year in my mind, as well as being the day that I moved to Oregon, Illinois and what would become my real "hometown" as a seven year-old.) I was mentally composing this on the 16th, as I finished up my first day of orientation at Saint Leo, but I felt too tired when I actually got home, or was too out of the habit. So I'm trying to summon will where habit has failed. Here I go.
Loyola Faculty Portrait

Personal: The End of Orientation

Wiped the hell out. After a week of unceasing orientations, I pretty much dropped last night. As this was the only time that everyone from the extension centers were here, too, and thus the only time you could spend with the full faculty, I wanted to take advantage of that, and so every evening was filled with social events. The orientations more successfully introduced me to everything that I don't fully understand at the university rather than getting me to master them, but perhaps that's the best that can be hoped for. But after an evening of Shepherd's Pie and great conversation at the Shamrock Ale House after seeing Man of Steel again (and featuring such cool topics as discovering that Brian and Dan were from the same town in Connecticut, to Patricia describing for me the imaginative and aesthetic impact of growing up around Chartres), I came in and slept for ten hours. So now it's time to turn to actually doing class prep.

Books (Trinity College Long Room)

Personal/Theological Notebook: Reading List 2012-2013 School Year

What I've Been Reading
Reading List 2012-2013 School Year:

I get asked about this every so often, and I'm always willing to recommend a good book, so some years ago I thought I'd follow the lead of one of my favourite authors, Diane Duane, who has something similar up on her page. Books I re-read are heartily endorsed!

* denotes a re-read **denotes a book I'm teaching in a class
The Making of the Pope: 2005, Andrew M. Greeley
America's Second Revolution: How George Washington Defeated Patrick Henry and Saved the Nation, Harlow Giles Unger
Theological Investigations, XVIII: God and Revelation, Karl Rahner
The Making of the Popes 1978: The Politics of Intrigue in the Vatican, Andrew M. Greeley
Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion, Joseph Ratzinger
Theological Investigations, IV: More Recent Writings, Karl Rahner *
Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine, and the Mystery of Baptism, Garry Wills
The Cambridge Companion to the Trinity, Peter Phan, ed.
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card *
The Church in the Making: Lumen Gentium, Christus Dominus, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Richard Gaillardetz
The History of Vatican II, Vol. 1: Announcing and Preparing Vatican Council II, Giuseppe Alberigo, ed.
The Complete Julian of Norwich, Fr. John-Julian, OJN
Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell
Secrets of God: Writings of Hildegard of Bingen, Sabina Flanagan, ed. and trans.
The History of Vatican II, Vol. 2: The Formation of the Council's Identity, First Period and Intercession, October 1962-September 1963, Giuseppe Alberigo, ed.
Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning, Massimo Faggioli
State of War: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1945-2011, Paul A. C. Koistinen
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E. L. Konigsburg (read to the nieces) *
The History of Vatican II, Vol. 3: The Mature Council, Second Period and Intercession, September 1963-September 1964, Giuseppe Alberigo, ed.
The History of Vatican II, Vol. 4: Church as Communion, Third Period and Intercession, September 1964-September 1965, Giuseppe Alberigo, ed.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ: A Model Theologian, 1918-2008, Patrick W. Carey
Some Bolitho novels, Alexander Kent
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (read to the nieces) *
Karl Barth, Catholic Renewal and Vatican II, Benjamin Dahlke
An Historian's Approach to Religion: Based on Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh in the Years 1952 and 1953, Arnold Toynbee
The Logic of Liberty: Reflections and Rejoinders, Michael Polanyi
Systematic Theology, Wolfhart Pannenberg *
A Memory of Light, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg, 2nd Ed., Stanley J. Grenz
Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis *
Perelandra, C.S. Lewis *
The Rise and Decline of the Scholastic 'Quaestio Disputata': With Special Emphasis on its Use in the Teaching of Medicine and Science, Brian Lawn
Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, Tracey Rowland
Trapped in the Ice, Ruth Harnden (read to Haley) *
Grace: The Gift of the Holy Spirit, Revised Edition, David M. Coffey
The Historicity of Nature: Essays on Science and Theology, Wolfhart Pannenberg
The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage, Paul Elie
Universal Father: A Life of John Paul II, Garry O'Connor
Essays Presented to Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, ed.
The Jeweler's Shop, Karol Wojtyla
My Witness for the Church, Bernard Häring
A Life with Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope, Stanislaw Dziwisz
The Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis *
Christological Name Theology in Three Second Century Communities, Michael D. Harris
Medieval Writings on Female Spirituality, Elizabeth Spearing, ed.
The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life (2nd Edition), Ingrid Mattson
The Showings of Julian of Norwich, Critical Edition ed. Denise N. Baker
Crossing To Safety, Wallace Stegner
A Memory of Light, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson *
Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction, Jonathan T. Pennington
John Adams, David McCollough *
Modernity: Yearning For The Infinite

Theological Notebook: 2010 Hauerwas Article "America's God Is Dying"

Just saw this one for the first time, courtesy of Mr. Hannan. I'm going to have to chew on this analysis for a while and see what I think. But it struck me that it may make for a good "discuss with students" article for some further, future incarnation of my Grace course, particularly once the students are advanced enough to start thinking through and applying ideas of "grace and freedom" in an informed way.

OPINION
America's God Is Dying
Stanley Hauerwas

ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS UPDATED 21 JUL 2010 (FIRST POSTED 20 JUL 2010)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer thus got it right when he characterized American Protestantism as "Protestantism without Reformation."

That is why it has been possible for Americans to synthesize three seemingly antithetical traditions: evangelical Protestantism, republican political ideology and commonsense moral reasoning. For Americans, faith in God is indistinguishable from loyalty to their country.

American Protestants do not have to believe in God because they believe in belief. That is why we have never been able to produce an interesting atheist in America. The god most Americans say they believe in is just not interesting enough to deny. Thus the only kind of atheism that counts in America is to call into question the proposition that everyone has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Consequently, America did not need to have an established church because it was assumed that the church was virtually established by the everyday habits of public life.

Just take, for example, the 1833 amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution that did away with church establishment, which nonetheless affirmed "the public worship of God, and the instructions in piety, religion, and morality, promote the happiness and prosperity of a people, and the security of republican government."

In his important book America's God, Mark Noll points out that these words were written at the same time that Alexis de Tocqueville had just returned to France from his tour of North America. Tocqueville confirmed the point made in the Massachusetts Constitution by observing, "I do not know if all Americans have faith in their religion - for who can read to the bottom of hearts? - but I am sure that they believe it necessary to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion does not belong only to one class of citizens or to one party, but to the entire nation; one finds it in all ranks."

Protestantism came to America to make America Protestant. It was assumed that was to be done through faith in the reasonableness of the common man and the establishment of a democratic republic. But in the process the church in America became American - or, as Noll puts it, "because the churches had done so much to make America, they could not escape living with what they had made."

As a result Americans continue to maintain a stubborn belief in a god, but the god they believe in turns out to be the American god. To know or worship that god does not require that a church exist because that god is known through the providential establishment of a free people.

This is a presumption shared by the religious right as well as the religious left in America. Both assume that America is the church.

But now we are beginning to see the loss of confidence by Protestants in their ability to sustain themselves in America just to the extent that the inevitable conflict between the church, republicanism and commonsense morality has worked its way through the system of our national life.

America is the great experiment in Protestant social thought, but the society Protestants created now threatens to make Protestantism unintelligible to itself. Put as directly as I can, I believe we may be living at a time when we are watching Protestantism, at least the kind of Protestantism we have in America, come to an end. It is dying of its own success.

Protestantism became identified with the republican presumption in liberty as an end in itself. This presumption was then reinforced by an unassailable belief in the commonsense of the individual. As a result, Protestant churches in America lost the ability to maintain those disciplines that are necessary to sustain a truly free people - people who are capable of being a genuine alternative to the rest of the world.

The great irony is that the almost pathological fervency with which the religious right in America tries to sustain faith as a necessary condition for democracy is the surest formula for insuring that the faith that is sustained is not the Christian faith.

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