Religion & Liberty Article Listing

The power of liberty

Now that the last dish and utensil for the Acton Annual Dinner has been cleared, washed and put away, we find ourselves preparing for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. This is a special season often set aside for two cornerstones of our modern civilization: worship and family, which have intersected often in literature.

In James Joyce’s classic novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, readers witness the tensions between the public life of those engaged in religious vocations and their flocks. In this instance, the protagonist’s father, Simon Dedalus, argues with Dante Riordan over Christmas dinner. The subject is whether it is proper for the parish priest to turn “the house of God into a polling booth...

Russell H. Conwell [1843 – 1925]

Greatness consists not in the holding of some future office, but really consists in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. To be great at all, one must be great here, now.

Most famous for founding Temple University (just about single handedly), Russell Herman Conwell was an accomplished minister, orator, philanthropist, soldier, lawyer, entrepreneur, writer and more. When he was 18, he enrolled at Yale University but didn’t stay there for long. After the Civil War began, he returned to his home state of Massachusetts where he became a recruiter. Even at such a young age, he was an accomplished speaker as his stirring and patriotic speeches inspired young men to immediately join the Union army.


After the culture wars

Review of Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore (B&H Books, August 2015).

For much of its existence, America has been defined as an extension of the conservative Protestant values of its first settlers. That worldview is rapidly vanishing in America, and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the policy arm of the Southern Baptist Church, says now is the time for the church to reclaim its mission.

“We were never given a mission to promote ‘values’ in the first place, but to speak instead of sin and of righteousness and judgement, of Christ and his kingdom,” writes Moore. His new book Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel offers a blueprint for how to speak to a culture that is not only indifferent to but also openly hostile to Christianity....

There is no such thing as ‘the poor’

Angus Deaton

With the news that Angus Deaton had won the economics Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the question of how best to help the poor in developing nations takes on greater urgency. Deaton earned his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1974 and has served on the faculty at Princeton University since 1983. Throughout his career he has studied the microeconomic underpinnings of broader questions regarding consumption and saving and their implications for poverty and efforts to reduce it.

By pioneering household surveys in poor countries, Deaton helped us gain a more accurate perspective on living standards and the particular consumption realities of the global poor. These data provided...

Steward or squander: religion and environmentalism in the United States

A Review of Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism by Mark Stoll (Oxford University Press, May 2015).Steward or squander: religion and environmentalism in the United States

In his new book, Mark L. Stoll challenges the conventional green view that Christianity provides the western world a philosophy justifying anti-ecological behavior on personal, economic and political dimensions. He is a historian and the director of Environmental Studies at Texas Tech University.

Two of the most influential articles defining the culture and logic of contemporary environmentalism were published in Science Magazine in the late 1960s. Lynn White Jr....

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. -Matthew 5:4

One of the many titles of Christ is “Comforter.” Out of his endless love God comes to us as fully human. As fully God and man, Jesus mourns with us and for us, which is great news, but his atoning power and resurrection promises so much more than a sympathetic ear or important moral teachings. Despite the pain and affliction, Christ will transform our condition.

The type of mourning Christ speaks about in the Beatitudes is not just sadness, wailing or gnashing of teeth concerning our pitiful circumstances. Our Lord’s emphasis in the passage is on godly sorrow. Even the worldly and those who despise God can gnash their teeth and rage over their circumstances. But those who are close to the heart of God mourn over their sin and spiritual paralysis.

One of the...

Steak au poivre, cabernet sauvignon and second chances

The atmosphere at Edwins is calm and casual three hours before opening for business on a Friday afternoon. Someone has piped hip-hop music through the sound system, a far cry from the soft, ambient tracks that diners will hear later. A bartender inspects glasses while another vacuums the floor and others check that tables are properly set for dinner. Near a fireplace between the bar and the kitchen, a group of young men and women gather with small glasses for a beer tasting. “Who knows the main ingredients for beer?” the leader of the group asks. They discuss pairings of craft beer seasonal offerings with current menu items such as artichauts barigoule and ris de veau-poê...

Kitchen Redemption: An interview with Brandon Chrostowski

kitchen redemption interview

There are nearly 70 million Americans with a criminal record and more than 2 million currently incarcerated nationwide. Ohio alone houses 50,000 of these individuals, costing the state more than $1.3 billion annually. Most of these people struggle with finding a job once they return to society. Not enough employers want to hire a convict, especially not a convicted felon. Because of the many difficulties they face, one in three released prisoners (some 20,000 are released each year in Ohio) wind up back in prison within three years of being freed. Without job and life skills, many of these people don’t stand much of a chance in society. Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute in Cleveland,...

Editor’s Note

Sarah Stanley editor of R&L

Early in October, I took a trip to Cleveland to learn about Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute and its founder, Brandon Chrostowski. Edwins is the “teaching hospital” of restaurants. It teaches people with zero hospitality experience the basics of restaurant business through a free six month course. The one requirement to get into the program? Jail time. Chrostowski was inspired to start Edwins after his own brush with the law and a new beginning as a chef and entrepreneur. He discusses all this in an interview about the culinary world and Edwins. I also dive a little more into the history of Edwins and my experience with the restaurant in an accompanying essay.


What is Instituto Acton?

The Buenos Aires-based organization formerly known as Instituto Acton Argentina became a subsidiary of the Acton Institute in the spring of 2015. Instituto Acton, while independent for the time being, will share common objectives and goals with the Acton Institute. It is led by Executive Director Cecilia G. de Vázquez Ger and conducts its work primarily in Spanish. The institute’s mission is to promote a free and virtuous society, characterized by the validity of personal rights and the market economy in harmony with the principles of the Judeo-Christian faith.

The core of the Instituto’s work consists of academic activities, such as conferences and research, and also sharing work and events through digital communication and institutional relations. Programs include: Acton Joven, cursos online, presentaciones de PovertyCure and seminarios. Acton Joven (...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word

Ephesians 4:1–3

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. The apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, which taught on church unity and behavioral issues, while he was imprisoned in Rome. Dissension in the church is harmful not only for the church, but also the wider culture, where unbelievers often revel in accusing the church of hypocrisy and judgment.

Earlier chapters in Ephesians teach on salvation and the merits of Christ, but in Ephesians 4, Paul writes that salvation leads us to a spirit of love and unity. Our ultimate purpose here on earth is to reflect Christ and preserve unity to strengthen the power and...

Editor’s Note

Sarah Stanley editor of R&L Few industries have evolved quite as quickly and fundamentally in the last few years as publishing. Leading the way in this changing landscape is Bob Pritchett, CEO of Faithlife Corporation. This summer issue of Religion & Liberty begins with an interview with Pritchett, who discusses how Faithlife sets trends in the publishing industry rather than simply responding to them.

It’s the 35th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” this year, and while Americans look back fondly on the 4-3 victory of the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team over the Soviet Union, the players from behind the Iron Curtain went home devastated and determined to improve. It’s fitting that...

Illuminating gifts

Faith. Freedom. These words are not used thoughtlessly or carelessly at the Acton Institute. The 25th anniversary of the Acton Institute is a good time to reflect on these ideals, especially as they relate to our Faith & Freedom Award. Faith illuminates the road—our lives—before us. We are free to journey anywhere. Isn’t the freedom of the open road a quintessential American tableau? It’s us in a sharp-looking, sunlit convertible with music blasting and wind in our hair. The world is ours! Freedom!

But we must also ask what freedom is, because without knowing the parameters of freedom, we can drive off a cliff.

I am reminded of the classic novel Les Miserables. One character, Jean Valjean, is basically a...

Sojourner Truth [1797 – 1883]

Truth is powerful and it prevails.

From slave to fearless human rights advocate, Sojourner Truth is one of the most inspirational figures of the 19th century. In 1797, or thereabouts, Truth was born Isabella Baumfree in the state of New York to James and Elizabeth (some accounts say her mother’s name was Betsey), two slaves of Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh. Truth married another slave, Thomas, when she was in her late teens and eventually had five children. sojourner truth image in the liberal traditionShe had several different owners, many of whom were extremely cruel, until 1826. Growing support for emancipation and abolition of slavery prompted Truth’s final owner to promise that he...

Was America ever really a Christian nation?

book cover one nation under god kevin m. kruseReview of One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M. Kruse. New York: Basic Books, 2015.

In One Nation Under God, Princeton historian Kevin M. Kruse offers yet another deconstruction of the claim, made quite vehemently in some conservative Christian circles, that America is (or at least was) a “Christian nation.” But unlike those who largely insist on the heterodoxy, rationalism, skepticism or separationism of some leading members of the founding generation, countering one kind of “originalism” with another, Kruse offers a different sort of genealogy, taking its point of departure in the 1930s, when a few...