Diana Butler Bass blogs at Christianity for the Rest of Us and The Huffington Post, and is the author of A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story.
Posts By This Author
Over the last several days, I watched Rev. Jeremiah Wright in discussions of faith, theology, history, and culture on television. The three-plus hours I devoted to PBS and CNN amounted to some of the most sophisticated and thoughtful programming on American culture and racial issues that any news station has offered in recent years. And, for those who really listened to Rev. Wright, he moved from [...]
Waving the Broom: A Leadership Parable
Several weeks ago, a pair of doves built a nest on a front windowsill at my house. My family watched as the mother bird laid two eggs, as they hatched, and as the young chicks feathered. We grew attached to the winged family who made their home with ours.
Two mornings ago, I was checking on the baby birds when a grackle (a large blackbird that a friend calls the "Darth Vader" of the bird world) swooped down and [...]
Immature Media or Mature Faith?
No two events in this political season stand in starker contrast than last night's ABC Democratic debate and last Sunday's CNN Compassion Forum.
Rather unbelievably, ABC anchors used 50 minutes of airtime attacking Democratic candidates on tabloid issues, including a line of questioning from George Stephanopoulos lifted from right-wing pundit Sean Hannity. Almost as an afterthought, the final questions turned toward actual issues including the economy and war. The ABC Web [...]
Putting Rev. Wright's Preaching in Perspective
The current media flap over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's former pastor, strikes me as nothing short of strange. Anyone who attends church on a regular basis knows how frequently congregants disagree with their ministers. To sit in a pew is not necessarily assent to a message preached on a particular day. Being a church member is not some sort of mindless cult, where individuals believe every word preached. Rather, being a church member means being part of a community of faith-a [...]
Women, Faith, and Presidential Politics
During the South Carolina Republican debate, Mike Huckabee garnered greatest applause when defending his views of wifely submission as part of his evangelical faith. The questioner quizzed Huckabee about being one of 131 signers of a 1998 USA Today ad by the Southern Baptist Convention that asserted, "a wife is to graciously submit herself to the servant leadership of her husband." Huckabee responded by saying "I am not the least bit ashamed of my faith." He joked that his own wife [...]
The Times They Are A-Changin
The new political buzzword is change. Every candidate claims to be the change candidate-and every pundit is contrasting "change" with "establishment." In the midst of the change-din, I would like to suggest that there is an important question to ask the candidates: "How will you lead change?"
Harvard leadership professor Ronald Heifetz has identified two major approaches to change: technical fixes and adaptive change. In her fine book, Leadership Can Be Taught, Sharon Daloz [...]
Iowa and the Poles of Protestantism
Now that the people of Iowa have chosen Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Barack Obama as their nominees for president, pundits will spend much of the next few days (until New Hampshire at least) analyzing the results. Many will note religion as an important factor-especially as evangelicals turned out largely for Huckabee.
But evangelicals are not the only religion story from Iowa. Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama represent something much more profound in American politics [...]
Providence and Politics
Last week, a Liberty University student asked Gov. Mike Huckabee to account for his recent surge in the polls. "There's only one explanation for it, and it is not a human one," Huckabee claimed, "It is the same power that helped a little boy with two fishes and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people. And that's the only way our campaign could be doing what it is doing." In other words, God apparently wants Mike Huckabee to be president-or, at the very least, win the Iowa caucuses. And, [...]
No Religious Tests
I couldn't help but be struck by a bizarre similarity in two back-to-back events this week: the YouTube/CNN Republican forum and the swearing in of Pakistan's President Musharaf broadcast by NPR. Although worlds apart, both demonstrated what happens when religion and politics mix in a less-than-productive way-the insistence on religious tests for holding office.
In the case of President Musharaf, he took the oath of office to a country with Islam as the state religion by swearing that [...]
Diversity as Christian Practice-Not Just a Church Program
A week before Thanksgiving, I spoke in Lake Tahoe for the clergy convocation of the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church, a sprawling geography that comprises a wide array of congregations in big cities and small rural towns. The wide variety of clergy reflected that of the churches-the group included many women, persons of color, younger pastors, folks with a spectrum of theological views, and ordained and non-ordained leaders. It was obvious that this group of [...]
What if the Amish Were in Charge of the War on Terror?
Congregations find passion and purpose by blending ancient traditions and contemporary action.
The New 'Mainline' Church
Ten years ago, historian Mark Nolls important book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind began with a powerful indictment: "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." From there, Noll attacked evangelical anti-intellectualism and issued challenges to remedy the problem.
Even if Christendom is only a vague European memory, the United States suffers from a sort of Constantinian hangover. The Emperor Constantine just won't go away.