When I was a little girl, I hid in church.
In Philip Larkin’s poem “Church Going,” the narrator peeks into a church, apparently at random, while on a bicycle ride.
A church cannot define itself as moral agency because its message is not a primarily moral one and because it offers itself to no one as agency. Morality is a poor basis for missionary work.
When Augustine of Hippo, the venerable philosopher and bishop, first used religio Christiana in his legendary opus The City of God, he was unhappy with the phrase.
1998. A man in black walks along a dark street on the outskirts of a metropolis. The spotlight follows him. He stops and recites a mantra, over a steady house beat.
Why do people who have this urge for the transcendent also tend to participate in social rituals and practices? Why should this impulse, these attitudes, lead to church?
I’m not much of a Quaker.
We invited priests and pastors from across the country to participate in a short survey about the joys, challenges and day-to-day work of leading a church in contemporary America.
Philip Gorski is a professor of sociology at Yale University, where he is the co-director of the Center for Comparative Research and the Religion and Politics Colloquium at the Yale MacMillan Center.