Thursday, November 06, 2014

Thursday Thinking - Faith and the Public Square

David Brooks recently spoke at The Gathering 2014. As a person of faith who lives and writes in a secular context, his talk is well worth a listen. You can read or skim through the transcript HERE.  I've included a couple of pull quotes below to give you an idea of what he presented.

Click the icon below if you would like to listen to the audio file. You can start listening at the 10:15 mark if you'd like to skip the introduction and banter before the actual presentation. The actual talk is about 36 minutes long.

"...what I thought I’d want to talk about is how to be religious in the public square. What does the culture need from you? At least in my opinion.

Now I grew up in a slightly different atmosphere than a lot of people in this room. I work at what I think of as the greatest newspaper in the world, but being a conservative, religious person at The New York Times is a bit like being the chief rabbi in Mecca. There’s not a lot of company there some days.
I grew up in a very left-wing household in Greenwich Village in New York. Nonetheless I went to Grace Church School. I was part of the all-Jewish boys’ davening choir at Grace. We sang the hymns, but to square with our religion we didn’t sing the word, “Jesus,” so the volume would drop down and then come back up.

I went to the University of Chicago, which we called the Wheaton of the Southside. The best line about Chicago: it’s a Baptist school where atheist professors teach Jewish students St. Thomas Aquinas.

I’ve lived much of my life in the secular culture. And it’s an achievement-oriented culture."

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"...I spend a lot of time in the Christian world, and I am going to try to describe things I have observed, both walls and ramps. The first part, I‘m going to try and describe some walls that I think the Christian culture has erected for the secular culture. This part is going to be a little harsh. I’m trying a “holy friend,’ which involves some criticism."

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