The Ivy League Christian Observer arrives quarterly, beckoning for attention, which Sightings provides.
Almost always Sightings takes off from the sighting of a particular recent news event. This week, for fun and games, we’ll make an exception and address a generic theme: the religious left.
Devoted to “public religion” or “religion-in-public,” Sightings surveys public arenas that are not confined to the political world. Education, commerce, entertainment and the arts represent spheres where publics encounter religion.
Thoughtful religious leaders have to work to promote affiliation and commitment as they seek and sometimes find company among the non-religious who would stir interest in the deeper things of life. This is a mission for them in a time of when gloss is favored in many sub-cultures.
Religious institutions cannot be at home in the public sphere to serve in it and expect to be given special treatment, if they ever could. There is no reason to expect that they can run for cover now and go unnoticed.
When Will Herberg wrote the canonical book Protestant-Catholic-Jew in the mid-fifties, Evangelicals appeared to be marginal at best. In recent decades they make the news more often and they are more exploited by and influential among politicians and public life than are the many breeds of Protestants. Let’s look in on the Evangelicals.
News of theological seminaries does not usually appear in public media unless someone who is part of one of them creates scandal and cannot go unnoticed and not-covered. This week, therefore, this e-column has to take on a different character.
Suppose I’d been unconscious since March 13 and just learned that there’d been a papal election. Suppose I asked “you” for details, you answered, and I responded.
Forget, for the moment, popes and budgets and March Madness, shall we? This week we dispense with headlines and blogs and releases, unless the latter are three-hundred or three-thousand years old.
“It behooves us to keep talking about the papal election for as long as possible. Once it’s over, we’re back to the federal budget deliberations, and I prefer a story in which nothing gets sequestered but the cardinals.” Thus columnist Gail Collins spoke for many of us.