Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Reading: The (Very) Short List

Well friends, it's probably more summer where you are than where I am, but nonetheless let's don the sunglasses, let our whitened thighs distract a few satellites, and grab some reading to occupy us for a short spell. Here's two articles I have enjoyed recently:

"The Christian Paradox: How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong"(Harper's, Aug. 2005) - Many of you won't need much convincing of Bill McKibben's basic premise– that American Christianity is probably on the whole more American than it is Christian– but McKibben offers some valuable statistics and analysis. When he observes that "America is the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behaviour," he holds a frightening mirror up to us that we ignore to our peril. I don't agree with all of his assumptions (namely that the issue of the death penalty is clearly prohibited in scripture), but that our culture is composed of a kind of uncritical pseudo-Christianity that has managed, in spite of its best intentions, to live out an increasingly ironic faith will surely drive us to examine this dangerous dualism in our midst. Reading this alongside Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship has been scaring the (I hope) hell out of me.

Second up is an article well worth archiving. Andrew Chignell's account of the Wheaton presidential search is proof that Wheaton College is often a microcosm of young Evangelicalism. I personally have very little interest in the presidential search, but the issues surrounding it are in many ways bigger than that school. At more than one point I felt like his comparisons between the Wheaton of last decade and the Wheaton of today would have sufficed for my own experience at a small Bible college. Something is changing in Evangelicalism, and Chignell offers important insight as to what the nature of that change might be.