A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


I came across a wonderful and helpful worship book titled Resources for Worship. It's from 1961 by the YMCA and it has some solid prayers and worship ideas. I also have a book from the same group, from the 20s which is a devotional book on the life of Jesus.

What they produced was liberal Protestant. It started to make me wonder. When I go to a bookstore the vast majority of the devotional lit is evangelical. I get mainline publishers sending me catalogues that are biblical studies and academic theology.

But in the early 20th century there was a tremendous amount of resources, devotional literature that came from the mainline. Now I can't find such things. What happened? Why are mainliners reading Rick Warren? Where is our equivalent to such things?

Part of growing the mainline is some intentional effort at religious formation and that includes providing the sort of devotional resources for people that can be edifying and be reflective of the mainline. Can folks point me to some good current works along those lines?


At 6:22 PM , Blogger BruceA said...

I can't think of any good resources right off hand. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons the mainline churches are losing ground to the evangelicals.

At 12:02 PM , Anonymous John B said...

I think part of the reason that progressive resources are hard to come by is that it has been assumed by publishers that progressives don't care about spiritual matters. There tons of resources dealing with progressive political, social, and gender issues, but the spiritual realm, at least in the publishing world, belongs to the evangelicals.

I'm curious as to how you as a religious liberal would describe what liberal Christian spirituality looks like. Maybe that's why there such a lack of resources, nobody has taken the time to articulate a progressive spirituality.

At 1:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some suggestions I have:

1) There is the "Living by the Word" section of the "Christian Century" magazine. I tend to use these as devotional guides on a regular basis, and they are firmly grounded in mainline Protestant theology. See http://www.christiancentury.org/dept_living.lasso for more information (sorry -- no time to hyperlink right now).

2) There is also the lectionary readings published in "The Witness" online magazine, published by The Episcopal Church Publishing Company. See http://www.thewitness.org/contents.php for more information, and look for the lectionary readings in the list of articles (the lectionary readings typically have the day in bold print).

3) Some of my favorite devotional-type books are in the _Hunger for the Word_ series that is published by Liturgical Press, published in conjunction with Bread for the World. These tend to focus on hunger and social justice issues, but most come from either mainline Protestant or Roman Catholic authors. See http://tinyurl.com/ncazy for more information.


At 10:38 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

John B
In some ways, the resources would be the same as evangelicals but they wouldn't have presuppositions like the bible is inerrant. They would be able to draw from a broad range of resources in its proposals, practices.

When I go to a Barnes and Noble, I find that I need to skip the Christian devotional section all together and head over to the Jewish section. Harold Kushner's works strike me as a good way of doing devotional literature.

Thanks..will have to check some of them out

I agree...I've been told there are such materials out there by friends, but they don't seem to make it into a bookstore, but I think mainline pastors can help in terms of identifying such resources and giving them exposure, use in the churches.


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