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Church and Culture

Holy Saturday & the Hell of Coming Home: Caring for War Wounded Souls by Adam D. Tietje
In Packing Inferno, Iraq War veteran Tyler Boudreau describes his experience of going to war and of coming home: They say war is hell, but I say it’s the foyer to hell. I say coming home is hell, and hell ain’t got no coordinates. You can’t find it on the charts, because there are no charts. Hell is no place at all, so when you’re there, you’re nowhere—you’re lost. The narrative, that’s your chart, your own story. There are guys who come home from war and live fifty years without a narrative, fifty years lost. They don’t even know their own story, never have, and never will. But they’re moving amidst the text every day and every long night without even realizing it. … They live inside the narrative like a cell, and their only escape is to understand its dimensions. Spring 2019, Theology Matters, Pg. 1

Discerning the Signs of the Times: Responding as a Confessional Church to the Culture by William D. Eisenhower, Ph.D., PCUSA pastor and adjunct professor Fuller Theological Seminary.   Eisenhower examines the role of the PCUSA Confessions in response to the "Letter of 57" leaders who supported the ordination of practicing homosexuals.  Jan/Feb 1997 Theology Matters p. 1

The Presbyterian Church Struggle: Reflections on the Relevance of the Barmen Declaration by James R. Edwards, Ph. D.  PCUSA pastor and Chairman of the Religion and Philosophy Department at Jamestown College, Jamestown, ND. Edwards examines Confessionalism versus Accommodation to Culture by looking at the struggle of the German Confessing Church that was given expression in the Barmen Declaration.  "The struggle was perceived and articulated by the Synod of Barmen in terms of confessionalism versus accommodation to culture.  Specifically that meant a conflict between two understandings and models of Christianity.  The one, represented by the 'German Christians,' advocated a 'positive Christianity' that sought to integrate the gospel as far as possible with the prevailing ideology ushered in by Hitler and National Socialism. ...The other understanding of Christianity was expressed by the 'Confessing Church,' which at Barmen and subsequent synods raised a voice of protest against reformulating Christianity according to Germanic and especially Nazi archetypes." Jan/Feb 1997 Theology Matters p. 5

More Religious Than Ever? Modern American Faith Increasingly Drained of Content by Katherine Kersten, chair of the Center of the American Experiment and commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."  Reprinted with permission from the Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN, Nov. 20, 1996.  "According to recent polls, 70 percent of Americans belong to a church or synagogue. By this measure, our nation is more religious than ever....According to a 1988 Gallup poll, the vast majority of Americans agree that people 'should arrive at their religious beliefs independent of any church or synagogue."  Jan/Feb 1997 Theology Matters  p. 8

No Other Gods by Robert L. Wilken, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.  Wilken's argues, "Practical atheism, that is to say, secularism, has undermined beliefs, attitudes, and conventions that have nurtured our civilization for centuries....Nothing is left untouched, whether it be our most cherished institutions, or the roles that have defined one's place In family, neighborhood, and city, or assumptions about duty, love, virtue, honor, and modesty....The ferocity of the current assault on the legacy of Christian culture, however, has brought a new clarity of vision.  The alternatives are set before us with unusual starkness: either there will be a genuine renewal of Christian culture--there is no serious alternative --or we will be enveloped by the darkness of paganism in which the worship of the true God is abandoned and forgotten. The sources of the cultural crisis, it turns out, are theological."   Jan/Feb 1996 Theology Matters   p. 1