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Reinhold Niebuhr

A fervent desire for social justice exists today among many Christians, but realism about the extent to which change can happen is often lacking. To address this issue two things are required. First, an inspiring call to advance the common good that is rooted in the teachings of Jesus. Second, a realistic understanding of human […] Read More

It was a childhood game that we played – good guys and bad guys in several versions: cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, reflecting the characters from the city crime shows and western shoot-em-ups of the early TV that we watched. A later generation would take their light sabers and battle it out between the […] Read More

In the early stages of the long contest of the next election cycle, we are getting a hint of what may be an interesting feature of the conversation we have in store. In a recent interview with Christianity Today, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was asked, “President Obama has cited Reinhold Niebuhr as one of […] Read More

Reinhold Niebuhr is regarded by many as the most influential American theologian and ethicist of the 20th century. His gift for seeing the complexity of the issues brought balance between the idealism and the realism of modern human experience. With an unwavering concern for justice, he offered a penetrating critique of the naiveté of idealism […] Read More

“I’m amazed,” wrote David Brooks a few years ago, “that Reinhold Niebuhr hasn’t made a comeback since September 11. After all, he was one of America’s most profound writers on war and international conflict.” Recently, of course, Niebuhr’s name did re-enter public conversation because then-candidate Obama described Niebuhr as his “favorite theologian.” When future presidents […] Read More

In April 2007, New York Times columnist David Brooks interviewed a presidential hopeful named Barack Obama. At one point, Brooks asked if Obama ever read the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr. “I love him. He’s one of my favorite philosophers,” was the reply. Brooks proceeded by asking what, if anything, Obama took away from Niebuhr’s writings. […] Read More

Since the decline of the Moral Majority, Christianity has been left without a visible face in American politics. This is not entirely lamentable. That Christianity lost face at the end of the 20th century was perhaps just as much a judgment as it was an attack upon the church. No doubt, “secular humanism” presented a […] Read More