The blessing and curse of American liberty

As we celebrate America’s Independence, some then-and-now is in order. On July 4, 1793, Rev. Enos Hitchcock offered an oration at the Baptist Meeting House in Providence, Rhode Island. The speech was colored by personal experience. Hitchcock served as chaplain during the war, first at Crown Point and Ticonderoga and then later at Valley Forge and West Point, seeing the high cost of liberty and ministering to countless men who paid it…

Faithful to the end: A new history of Christian martyrdom

Christianity is under fire in many places in the world. Last year more than seven thousand Christians were killed for “faith-related reasons,” according to watchdog group Open Doors. The tally was up three thousand from the prior year. In all, as many as 10 percent of the world’s Christians deal with discrimination and blatant persecution. Many of the attacks occur in majority Muslim countries. Last week in Egypt a Muslim mob reportedly…

You are what you love: Why theology isn’t enough

How do we learn what we know? Most of us assume our brains are banks where we deposit data, the available balance representing what we know. But the metaphor falls short—especially when applied to Christian formation. Thankfully, James K. A. Smith’s new book, You Are What You Love, provides a better answer. Smith’s big idea? Ideas matter less than we think. It only sounds counterintuitive. We all recognize that knowing the rules…