January 21st, 2013
By Phillip Gollner
It did not have to be. The Falwells, the Dobsons, the Reeds, the LaHayes, all those who may well have given more contours to the term “evangelical” than any theologians – they did not have to be the embodiment of evangelical public activism that goes down in history. There was another option. Maybe there still is. One that protests abortion but also nuclear armament and imperial wars, that answers “what would Jesus do?” with “he would consume less.” One that thrives not only under the halogen lights and artificial plants of suburban churches but also under the scrutiny of Berkeley or Chicago academia. What sounds like a happy hipster fantasy from the fringes of indefinable 21st century evangelicalism is, in fact, a well-substantiated claim of David Swartz’s Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism, just out from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
January 14th, 2013
by Shaun Horton
This year’s winter meeting of the American Society of Church History saw a lot of reflection on the Society’s beginnings, the changes it has undergone, and the direction it will take in the future. Laurie Maffly-Kipps’ address to the Society (which will appear in the forthcoming June issue of Church History) reflected on the historiographical shifts away from institutions that used to be so central to the study of “church history.” At our council and business meetings, members deliberated on how best to adapt to the “American Society’s” increasingly global reach. And as always, the panel presentations continued to the categories that church historians have used to make sense of things.
January 12th, 2013
By Timothy Lim T.N.
On the Occasion of a Cistercian Feast of Observance in Honor of Aelred of Rievaulx.
I started reading about friendship a few years ago. My readings ranged from Aristotle’s three levels of friendship in Nicomachean Ethics, Cicero’s On Friendship, Augustine’s Confessions, Aelred of Rievaulx’s Spiritual Friendship to a personal study on friendships in the Bible. I hoped that I was a friend to those whom providence arranged. Friendship nourishes me, although the disappointments and pains are sometimes difficult to bear. Who is a friend, and how do we nurture friendships? While I am more of an interdisciplinary theologian, like many members in the American Society of Church History, I rejoice in the richness that history could proffer. In this article, I present a contemporized and analogous reading of Aelred of Rievaulx’s Spiritual Friendship. Aelred postulates the benefits of deep friendship whilst being aware of the perils of relational problems, and in that sense, his thoughts challenge superficial friendships in our day. May this essay encourage us in finding true connection with friends.