Orthodoxy and Silence in the Public Square
Chesterton famously wrote, “There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy.”
With the furor arising from some corners upon the release of his new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Ross Douthat might be inclined to add to the big man’s dictum, “or anything so willfully misunderstood and resisted.”
Douthat's book is a neatly laid-out dissertation on the people of faith and their place in American society. It is a deft chronicle of where faith communities went right—spanning a heyday of religious commentary and social activism, from John Courtney Murray to Martin Luther King—where they gravely misstepped (through over-accommodation, self-defeating scriptural scholarship, and the inevitable discovery of “the God Within”) and where, through the embrasure of so-called “prosperity gospels” catering to the worst instincts of a post-binge capitalist society, they have simply gone mad.
Douthat also lays a humbly offered groundwork for how and where the churches may yet recover their sense of both social place and mission. Not surprisingly, it will involve a confrontation with the self that will be as painful as any bacchanal’s bleary-eyed gaze into a well-lit morning mirror; groaning pleas for mercy will make a slow, careful nod toward justice.Continue reading at www.firstthings.com