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Friday, May 17, 2019

The Elusive Presence Begins by Mark Galli

The Elusive Presence Begins

As I announced last week, I’m beginning a weekly column on what I believe is the fundamental crisis in American Christianity, and in evangelical Christianity in particular. As I note at the beginning of my piece, this larger problem is not just “out there” but “in me” as well. So it’s not so much a jeremiad so much as a series of reflections on the crisis we all share. Over the next few weeks I also explore the way forward.
There’s ‘Persecution,’ and Then There’s Persecution
Vice-President Pence, in his commencement address at Liberty University, warned students that as they go out to live and work in contemporary America, they will be persecuted for their faith. John Fea, professor of history at Messiah College, essentially says, “Maybe, but consider Christians in other parts of the world.” He’s right of course. (The BBC recently noted “Christian Persecution 'at Near Genocide Levels.'”) So-called “persecution” in America pales in significance.
Then again, sociologist George Yancey argues that there is “Christophobia” in many sectors of American life today. He frames the argument in an interesting way to his students. He doesn’t think persecution is the right word; more on the order of anti-Christian bias.
Belated Mother’s Day Tribute—From Prison
A Once and Future Saint
I mentioned the passing of Jean Vanier last week, but this week on our Quick to Listen podcast we interviewed Michael Higgins, a Vanier biographer, to delve more deeply into Vanier’s life. Extraordinary. Warning to the listener: It might prompt you to change your life….
Basketball Misbehavior
As we head into the NBA finals, a couple more basketball stories. Alan Jacobs of Baylor University notes in “Working the Refs” how some players have become notorious thespians trying to convince refs that they’ve been fouled. Jacobs, with usual insight, sees something larger going on: “I have come to believe that this is what almost all of our culture is about now: working the refs.”
Then there is the miracle of Stephen Curry to behold.
Grace and peace,

Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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