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A sequel to The Death of Christian Culture, this spiritual treatise covers social, cultural, and political topics. It explores the importance of religious knowledge and faith to the health of a culture, provides a historical sketch of the change in cultural and educational standards over the last two centuries, and illustrates how literary and other visual arts either contribute to a culture or conspire to tear it down. Compared to a series of sermons, this analysis explains that there is a continuing extinction of the cultural patrimony of ancient Greece, Rome, medieval Europe, and the early modern period of Western civilization, owing to the pervasive bureaucratization, mechanization, and standardization of increasing materialism.
First published in 1978, this hard-hitting exposition discusses the root causes of how and why Christian culture is dying. It investigates literature, culture, history, and religion in an attempt to show that education is increasingly about bureaucratic training and less about scholarly truth. A warning that cultural and artistic treasures of classical and Christian civilizations must be preserved, this provocative analysis diagnoses a cultural and societal malaise facing modern Western societies.
Edith Blumhofer uses the Assemblies of God, the largest classical Pentecostal denomination in the world, as a lens through which to view the changing nature of Anglo Pentecostalism in the United States.
Turn on a cable news show or pick up any news magazine, and you get the impression that Christian America is on its last leg. The once dominant faith is now facing rapidly declining church attendance, waning political influence, and an abysmal public perception. More than 76% of Americans self-identify as Christians, but many today are ashamed to carry the label. While many Christians are bemoaning their faith’s decline, Gabe Lyons is optimistic that Christianity’s best days are yet to come. In the wake of the stunning research from his bestselling book, unChristian, which revealed the growing disenchantment among young generations for Christians, Lyons has witnessed the beginnings of a new iteration of the faith. Marked by Lyons’ brutal honesty and unvarying generosity, Lyons exposes a whole movement of Christians—Evangelicals, Mainline, Protestants, Orthodox, Pentecostals, and others—who desire to be a force for restoration even as they proclaim the Christian Gospel. They want the label Christian to mean something good, intelligent, authentic, and beautiful. The next generation of Christians, Lyons argues, embodies six revolutionary characteristics: “When Christians incorporate these characteristics throughout the fabric of their lives, a fresh, yet orthodox way of being Christian springs forth. The death of yesterday becomes the birth of a great tomorrow. The end of an era becomes a beautiful new beginning. In this way, the end of Christian America becomes good news for Christians.” In THE NEXT CHRISTIANS, Lyons disarms readers by speaking as a candid observer rather than cultural crusader. Where other people shout, Lyons speaks in a measured tone offering helpful analysis of our current reality while casting a vision for how to be a Christian in a world disenchanted with the faith. Both a celebration and a reckoning, THE NEXT CHRISTIANS combines current day models and relevant research with stories of a new generation of Christian leaders. If you are worried by what you see transpiring around you, this book will take you on a surprising social exploration in hopes that you too will restore confidence in your faith. From the Hardcover edition.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Already the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade." —David Brooks In this controversial bestseller, Rod Dreher calls on American Christians to prepare for the coming Dark Age by embracing an ancient Christian way of life. From the inside, American churches have been hollowed out by the departure of young people and by an insipid pseudo–Christianity. From the outside, they are beset by challenges to religious liberty in a rapidly secularizing culture. Keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House may have bought a brief reprieve from the state’s assault, but it will not stop the West’s slide into decadence and dissolution. Rod Dreher argues that the way forward is actu­ally the way back—all the way to St. Benedict of Nur­sia. This sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following Rome’s fall, retreated to the forest and created a new way of life for Christians. He built enduring communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. His spiritual centers of hope were strongholds of light throughout the Dark Ages, and saved not just Christianity but Western civilization. Today, a new form of barbarism reigns. Many believers are blind to it, and their churches are too weak to resist. Politics offers little help in this spiritual crisis. What is needed is the Benedict Option, a strategy that draws on the authority of Scripture and the wisdom of the ancient church. The goal: to embrace exile from mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture. The Benedict Option is both manifesto and rallying cry for Christians who, if they are not to be conquered, must learn how to fight on culture war battlefields like none the West has seen for fifteen hundred years. It's for all mere Chris­tians—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox—who can read the signs of the times. Neither false optimism nor fatalistic despair will do. Only faith, hope, and love, embodied in a renewed church, can sustain believers in the dark age that has overtaken us. These are the days for building strong arks for the long journey across a sea of night.
America’s two greatest strengths—her liberal democratic culture and her free-market economy—have made her a global superpower. But left unchecked, these two strengths can become great cultural weaknesses, sowing selfishness, recklessness, and apathy. In Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society, theologian R. R. Reno argues that America needs a renewal of Christian ideals—ideals that encourage self-sacrifice, responsibility, and solidarity. Drawing on T.S. Eliot’s 1940 essay “The Idea of a Christian Society,” Reno shows how Christianity encourages “an abiding ambition for higher things” and a “moral vision” that can strengthen communities and transform America into a truly great nation.
What do you do when an entire civilization is crumbling around you? You do everything. This is a book about how to get started. Providence College professor Anthony Esolen, blunt and prophetic, makes the case that the decay of Western civilization is alarmingly advanced. Our sickly, sub-pagan state resembles a bombed-out city. We have to assess the damage, but merely lamenting it does no good. There is work to be done. The first step is the restoration of truth. America’s most powerful institutions—including the government—are mass producers of deceit. We have to recognize the lies and clear our minds of cant. Our culture produces only the drab or the garish. We must restore beauty—in art, architecture, music, and worship. There are two things wrong with our schools—everything our children don’t learn in them, and everything they do learn. Public schools are beyond reform; we have to start over. Our universities are as bad as our schools. A few can be saved, but for the most part, we must build new ones. In fact, this is already being done. We have to support these efforts as if our children’s souls depended on it. Repudiating the Sexual Revolution, that prodigious engine of misery, requires more than zipping up. The modern world has made itself ignorant about sex—in particular that there are two of them and they’re profoundly different. We must restore manhood and womanhood. In our servile economy, we raise bureaucrats not craftsmen. We must rediscover how to make things that are beautiful and lasting—the products of human work. And we must dispense with the “rent-seekers”—the proliferating middlemen whose own work contributes nothing. We have turned sports into a job for our children. Instead of playing we “work out.” A genuine civilization is based on celebration. We must restore play to human life, seeing all the other days of the week in light of the Sabbath. The gigantic scale of government has made us a nation of “idiots,” incapable of attending to public affairs and the common good. We must insist that the Constitution is not whatever judges say it is, complying with but not obeying their edicts while we reclaim our freedom of religion one outdoor procession, one public lecture, one parish picnic at a time. We must love this world, but we have here no abiding city. The great division is between those who place all their hope in the present life and those who know that we are pilgrims. There is no retreat, but take courage—we have our map. Let us begin.
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