The City, a podcast of Houston Baptist University: Smart. Sane. Spiritual.
Featuring: Dr. Hunter Baker, Cate MacDonald, Dr. Holly Ordway, Dr. John Mark Reynolds
It’s all about liberty.
Dr. Hunter Baker, dean of instruction at Union University, recently published a piece at The Federalist in which he offers a defense of the liberal arts. Many people may not even know what the liberal arts are, much less what their importance is to human flourishing.
You may have read defenses of the liberal arts before, but Hunter is a friend of The City and this topic hits close to home. So this discussion takes it to a very deep level.
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The Spring 2012 edition of The City is here! It includes several pieces applying the lessons of great figures of history to the challenges – philosophical, political, and international – of the day.
Louis Markos writes on Saint Augustine, Paul D. Miller on Alexis de Tocqueville, and Paul Bonicelli on Andrew Jackson. We also have an extensive interview with author Mary Eberstadt on the Sexual Revolution and its ramifications, a sure to be conversation-starting piece from Hillsdale Professor Paul Rahe on conscience and Catholicism, and a reminiscence from Tim Goeglein on his friendship with Russell Kirk. Our reviews section includes a must-read survey from Ryan T. Anderson on the debate over the morality of democratic capitalism, Aaron Belz on Wendell Berry, Burwell Stark on Teddy Roosevelt and football, and Micah Mattix on The Confederacy of Dunces. As always, Hunter Baker’s Republic of Letters features insight and reactions to the debates of the times, and John Poch provides our poetry this issue.
We hope you will read and enjoy!
Today we’re happy to reprint a piece on “End Times for Christian America” by HBU’s own Hunter Baker, an assistant professor of government, who is the author of the forthcoming The End of Secularism which is being published by Crossway Books this August.
Christian America is busy dying again.
If you believe some partisan historians, it was dead before the American Revolution, or at least, nobody important was a Christian by then. The Founders had all moved on to deism. Then again, maybe Christian America died at the Scopes Trial during the 1920s when Clarence Darrow pinned down the non-theologian, non-scientist politician William Jennings Bryan with the power of hostile cross-examination. If it wasn’t dead by then, it was really dead by the late 1960s when every other religion book seemed to be about either the death of God movement or “secular” Christianity. The most memorable volume of the period was Harvey Cox’s The Secular City, which put a happy face of the death of public Christianity and heralded a new, more mature age of secular community.
Meanwhile, a host of prominent sociologists of religion sagely assured the public (and each other) that public faith simply could not co-exist with a world full of technological wonders like conveyor belts, cathode ray tubes, and time and motion studies. The great sociologist Peter Berger imagined tiny groups of believers huddled together against the coming of the 21st century.
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Wilt thou love God as he thee? then digest,
My soul, this wholesome meditation,
How God the Spirit, by angels waited on
In heaven, doth make His temple in thy breast.
The Father having begot a Son most blest,
And still begetting—for he ne’er begun—
Hath deign’d to choose thee by adoption,
Co-heir to His glory, and Sabbath’ endless rest.
And as a robb’d man, which by search doth find
His stolen stuff sold, must lose or buy it again,
The Sun of glory came down, and was slain,
Us whom He had made, and Satan stole, to unbind.
‘Twas much, that man was made like God before,
But, that God should be made like man, much more.
Holy Sonnet XV
- Patrick Deneen, who will have another article in our upcoming issue, has a challenging essay at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for the American University on the Dysfunctional American Campus: “Our current universities no longer undertake what they were designed to achieve, and hence have become largely dysfunctional institutions whose activity – classical liberal education – exists in profound tension with their role – conveyors in the global meritocratic marketplace. It should be recognized that a vast chasm has arisen between what today’s colleges and universities are for – the bestowal of credentials – and what they were designed to achieve – a liberal education.”
- In the latest issue of Themelios, D.A. Carson reflects briefly on the distinction between the gospel and the consequences of the gospel for how we approach culture. Over at First Things, Charles J. Chaput has some timely remarks on what some of those consequences might be.
- HBU’s own Hunter Baker comments at Touchstone on the Great Commission Resurgence–a new initiative spearheaded by Johnny Hunt, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
- Donald A. Yerxa reflects on the pleasures — yes, the pleasures — of getting rid of books.
- Following up on a previous post, Matthew Milliner shares more thoughts on theology, personality and Catholicism.
- In the Wall Street Journal, Megan Basham had a provocative response to journalists and administrative officials who hope that the current economic downturn will push more wives and mothers into the workforce as their husbands continue to lose the majority of the jobs: “If our media and our government really want to show support to mothers” she writes, “they might consider actually listening to them.” Read the rest here.
Our next issue is coming together already — we shall have an update on it within the next few weeks.