Friday, September 15, 2017

Unity Among Protestants?

Unity Among Protestants?
 
Yes, it's possible, friends, and the new "Reforming Catholic Confession" is an attempt to demonstrate that Protestants are more unified than recent consensus suggests. The rap on us is that we are hopelessly divided, now existing in 33,000 different denominations. Well, yes, that's a fact. But what is not noted is how much most of those denominations tend to agree on. We may have different views of baptism and church order, but when it comes to classic Christian doctrines (the Trinity, Christ's person and atonement, the Bible, and so forth), we tend to share remarkable agreement.

The fact that this confession was headed by a Wesleyan philosopher (Jerry Walls of Houston Baptist University) and a Reformed theologian (Kevin Vanhoozer of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) suggests the efforts made to bridge differences in our world. In contrast to the recent Nashville Statement, this confession is clearly designed to bring us together under classic orthodoxy. I for one am encouraged.
A Honest Look at a Hard Problem
 
I found this such a compelling review, I've ordered the book to go even deeper. The book is The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. To be fair, it has never been "forgotten" by our black brothers and sisters, but it needs to be remembered by the rest of us that "government functionaries across the nation have aggressively worked for decades to keep black people in inferior, segregated housing." There is much vague talk and sweeping assertions these days about systemic racism, but this book gets down to specifics and details. One other thing attracts me to this book:
Throughout the book, Rothstein makes great efforts to be intellectually honest, which makes his book very different than most modern political debates, where advocates pretend that their desired solutions are cost-free, and their opponents are idiots or driven by malice. Rothstein freely admits where he expects there to be costs, and gives specific reasons why and by whom those costs should be borne.
It's that lack of honesty in so much else I read on this topic that frustrates me. So I look forward to Rothstein's take.
The Emotionally Fragile Among the College Elite
 
I've noted this topic many a time in The Galli Report, but I thought Jonathan Haidt (social psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at New York University Stern School of Business) brought some fresh insights to bear on the topics of "trigger warnings," "microaggressions," and other things that seem to deeply threaten the emotional wellbeing of many college students at elite universities. Haidt discusses "concept creep," "sky rocketing" rates of depression at elite schools, and the type of parenting (e.g., over protecting) that may have inadvertently exacerbated such matters. (This article prompted me to download the audio version of his now-classic The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, which I'm listening to as we speak).
Who Loves Public Radio on the Road?
 
Truckers, apparently. Not exactly public radio's target audience. But this article reminds one that not everybody fits into a neat stereotype.
Grace and peace,
 
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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