The weighty words Metropolitan Jonah offered during his keynote address at Acton University this year showed great spiritual depth and provided blessings that flowed from a deep love of Christ. His words were inspirational for many attendees. Metropolitan Jonah is perhaps the most visible and quoted bishop in the history of the Orthodox Church in America. We are thankful for that because all Christians and Christian traditions stand to benefit from the Metropolitan's voice. In his Summer 2011 Religion & Liberty interview, he discusses asceticism and the consumer society. The interview reflects a holy individual with a authentic monastic ethic who is not afraid to engage the culture. This year kicks off the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Many readers will have noticed pieces in major newspapers reassessing the conflict. Very little about faith has been said. Historian Mark Summers contributes in this issue an exceptional piece on the organically grown Christian revivals that flooded the Confederate Army at war. "In an era before 'combat fatigue' and 'post traumatic stress disorder,' 19th century men turned to the best coping mechanism at hand, their faith," says Summers. The revival too played a significant impact that shaped a spirited post-war Christian American South.
Managing editor Ray Nothstine offers a review of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt by Darren Dochuk. The book has been widely lauded for its objective and thorough research. Dochuk tells the story of the great Southern Westward migration to Southern California and the evangelical and political transformation of the region. Not surprisingly, the Golden State has been experiencing a reverse migration of late as California's economy is burdened by excessive regulation and job loss.
Religion & Liberty is offering a preview of the first English translation of Dutch Reformed theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper's Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art (forthcoming later this year). The Acton Institute and Kuyper College in Grand Rapids have teamed up to translate the seminal threevolume work on common grace (De gemeene gratie). The selection deals with the topic of art and religion.
For this issue, the "In the Liberal Tradition" figure profiled is American Founder Oliver Ellsworth. President John Adams called Ellsworth "the firmest pillar" of the federal government in the early Republic. Largely forgotten today, you will see why Adams would make such a statement. In a recent book on the founder, Michael C. Toth says, Ellsworth's "form of Calvinism provided a profound reason to seek broad compromises that protected the nation from external threats and internal strife. God's will, his particular creed told him, was to preserve America's harmony."