In my first piece over at ThoughtLife, I tackle this question. As I did on Thursday, I urge you to, in the words of Tina Fey, “go to there.” Subscribe to ThoughtLife, sign up for it in your RSS feed, and generally patronize this new blog, which is now the home of my “content blogging.”
Here’s a snippet:
Here’s what caught my attention in this segment, though: can anyone reasonably expect to “resurrect” liberal Protestantism? Forget the political issues involved here and the rather soft journalism at play in this piece. This is one of the more interesting questions one encounters in the study of modern American Christianity. Richard Wightman Fox, progressive Christian and author of a classic biography on Reinhold Niebuhr, once mused out loud in a fascinating essay that the dynamic of liberal Protestantism–specifically, its shaping by the culture–set it on a collision course with enlightened secular thought.
In other words, the liberal Protestants were so shaped by cultural mores that their project was essentially destined to merge with the culture. This is a brilliant insight, and it tells a great deal of the story of liberal Protestantism in the last 100 years.