One on One with John Starke on Having a Deeper Prayer Life

We need a deep, hidden life for a fruitful, public life. Ed: Why a book on prayer? Have you noticed deficiencies in how we are doing in the church in regards to prayer life? John: We live in a performative age. “Performative individualism” is how Sophie Gilbert describes our society, where the performance of the self is more important than the reality of it. The most obvious place this shows up is in social media, where we curate our image to give the impression that we are... Read More

The Debate Beneath Our Debates on the Pandemic and the Protests

Our divided responses to national challenges reflect deep divisions on what it means to be human. All interest in disease and death is only another expression of interest in life.” Novelist Thomas Mann penned these words long ago, and they continue to prove true in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national police protests we’re experiencing today. These ongoing challenges present litmus tests for our beliefs about ourselves. Our answers to questions like “Should I... Read More

One on One with Jerry Root on ‘The Neglected C.S. Lewis’

What readers of Lewis tend to neglect, are in fact the very books Lewis thought were his best and most important. Ed: Many are familiar with C. S. Lewis’s Narnian Chronicles and his Christian apologetics. How can you say he was neglected? Jerry: While Lewis is a well-known author, nevertheless, very few are familiar with his academic books. Yet, these are his best books. They were born out of his professional life and his study as a scholar of medieval and renaissance literature while... Read More

Anglican Property Wins Don’t Put an End to Legal Disputes

Breakaway congregations in South Carolina and Texas continue protracted fight with the Episcopal Church. Last month, a South Carolina circuit court judge ruled that 36 Anglican churches in that state don’t have to turn over their property to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. It was the latest decision in the long legal struggle between the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the more conservative Anglican congregations, which officially broke away in 2012. “I’m... Read More

Persecuted Christians Resettled in US Drop Dramatically Under Trump

More Christian refugees were welcomed from 50 worst persecutors in 2016 than in President Trump’s first three years combined, according to Open Doors and World Relief report. The United States is on track to welcome the fewest refugees since its resettlement policy was formalized in 1980, by a substantial margin. Capped at 18,000 people for 2020—the lowest ceiling on record—the US has resettled 7,600 refugees, with only three months left in the fiscal year. According to a... Read More

Hagia Sophia Converted Back to Mosque by Turkey’s President

Orthodox leaders and UNESCO object to famous former church no longer being a museum. As Christians feared and many expected, the Hagia Sophia is now—again—a mosque. The Turkish Council of State ruled today that the original 1934 decision to convert the sixth-century Byzantine basilica into a museum was illegal. When Ottoman sultan Mehmet II conquered then-Constantinople, he placed the iconic church in a waqf—an Islamic endowment administering personal property, usually... Read More

The Long Obedience of Racial Justice

To bear the image of God is a declaration of dignity that challenges power. “This is not Charlottesville” was the refrain that I heard many times. Our neighbors sought to assure us of this. We had moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, just days after white supremacists’ Unite the Right Rallies shattered the town’s charm. As blatant outside emissaries of racial hatred, they were vehemently opposed by people of faith and of goodwill. On the other hand, I recall a ride... Read More

What the Ministerial Exception Will Mean for Religious Employers

For Christians who despaired over recent Supreme Court rulings, the Our Lady of Guadalupe decision has a lot to offer. The Supreme Court defended religious liberty on Wednesday, bolstering and broadening the so-called “ministerial exception.” In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that the Constitution protects the freedom of religious organizations to hire and fire employees who play a vital role in fulfilling their religious mission. The decision, Our Lady of Guadalupe School v.... Read More

Why ‘Ditch the Deli Meat’ and Other Prohibitions Miss the Point of Pregnancy

Childbearing is too often defined by restrictions against vice instead of invitations to virtue. When I was pregnant with my first child, I looked for books to tell me what it all meant. I wanted to know how I should understand the strange situation of having a whole other mysterious person folded up inside my middle. Surely I had entered into a special spiritual category. When I made choices about what to do, I was taking another person’s safety into account. And when I prayed, two... Read More

Time for a New Normal

Returning to normal after such a historic moment would be nothing short of missing one of the greatest opportunities of our lifetime. As states have begun varied and nuanced approaches to reopening businesses, parks, and more, we find ourselves asking more and more "How do we move forward?" I'm concerned about life after the pandemic, but my concern is in a direction that may surprise you. Many say they are concerned that after the pandemic the church will never be the same... Read More